GENEVA 12 February 2019: Global passenger traffic results for 2018 showed demand (revenue passenger kms or RPKs) rose by a healthy 6.5% compared to full-year 2017, according to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association.
Although it represented a slowdown compared to the 2017 annual growth of 8%, it was another year of above-trend growth.
Full year 2018 capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage points to a record 81.9%, exceeding the previous high set in 2017.
December RPKs rose 5.3% against the same month in 2017, the slowest year-over-year pace since January 2018 and a continuation of the trend that saw demand growth decelerate to an annualized rate of 5% over the course of the 2018 second half compared to a 9% pace in the first half.
“2018 was another year of strong passenger demand, as aviation continued to support the global economy. We expect similar, if somewhat moderating performance in 2019. Nevertheless, slowing growth in the second half of 2018, coupled with concerns over issues including Brexit and US-China trade tensions, are creating some uncertainty to this positive outlook,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
International passenger traffic in 2018 climbed 6.3% compared to 2017, down from 8.6% annual growth the year before.
Capacity rose 5.7% and load factor climbed by 0.4 percentage point to 81.2%.
All regions recorded year-over-year increases in traffic, led by Asia-Pacific. However, North America and Africa were the only two regions to post stronger demand growth in 2018 compared to the prior year’s performance
Airlines in 2018 saw traffic rise 7.3%, compared to 2017, driven by robust regional economic expansion and an increase in route options for travellers. Although this was a slowdown from the 10.5% year-over-year growth recorded in 2017 versus 2016, it was strong enough to lead all the regions for a second consecutive year. Capacity rose 6.4%, and load factor ticked up 0.7 percentage point to 80.6%.