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Airlines in Nigeria, South Africa, others record demand growth amid challenges

By Wole Oyebade   |   13 January 2017   |   1:55 am

 International Air Transport Association

International Air Transport Association

Airlines in African countries have recorded an 8.2 per cent growth in passenger demand compared to the figures in November 2015.The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for November 2016, showing the strongest demand growth in nine months.The demand surge, underscores enormous the potential that abound in the air travel business and its ability to drive economies when optimised.

IATA, the clearinghouse for about 260 airlines in the world, said the growth was recorded amidst challenging economic conditions, “particularly in the biggest economies of Nigeria and South Africa.”

IATA said that the upward trend in seasonally-adjusted passenger traffic has reasserted itself more recently, supported by strong demand on routes to and from Asia and the Middle East. Capacity rose 5.1 per cent and load factor climbed 1.9 percentage points to 66.3 per cent.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said stronger demand for air travel reflects—and is supporting—a pick-up in the global economic cycle.

“As the stimulus effect of lower oil prices recedes in the rear view mirror, the strength of the economic cycle will play a key role in the pace of demand growth in 2017,” he said.

In the international passenger markets, November demand rose 8.0 per cent compared to the year earlier, with airlines in all regions showing growth. Total capacity climbed 6.8 per cent, and load factor edged up 0.9 percentage points to 77.1 per cent.

European Carriers saw demand increase by 8.3 per cent, while traffic grew at an annualised pace of 12 per cent over the past five months or so. This suggests that the disruption caused by terrorism and political instability has lifted, against a backdrop of a growing Eurozone economy. Capacity rose 6.8 per cent and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 80.8 per cent.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ November traffic also climbed 8.3 per cent compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased 7.1 per cent and load factor rose 0.8 percentage points to 77.4 per cent. The strong upward trend in demand has slowed recently but it is not clear whether this is a longer-term development or just a brief pause.

Middle East carriers led all regions with a 12.2 per cent demand increase. But the upward trend in the region’s seasonally adjusted traffic has paused, with November’s level coming in unchanged from that of July. Capacity rose 11.6 per cent and load factor rose 0.3 percentage points to 68.7 per cent.

North American airlines’ traffic climbed 1.5 per cent in November. Traffic across the Pacific is growing rapidly but North Atlantic demand is moderating. Capacity rose 1.2 per cent and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage points to 78.7 per cent.

Latin American airlines saw November traffic climb 7.3 per cent compared to November 2015. Capacity increased by just 2.9 per cent, pushing load factor up 3.4 percentage points to 82.2 per cent. The upward trend in international traffic has remained strong despite difficult conditions on the North America-South America route, supported by healthy international demand within South America.


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Alexandre de JuniacIATA


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