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Summer travels surge air traffic by 3.6 per cent

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International Air Transport Association


Global passenger demand has recorded a marginal growth due to summer peak period that is now coming to an end. The estimate, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) factsheet for July, expects a higher margin in August – the peak of the summer holidays.

IATA, the global clearing house for 285 airlines, estimated that the total revenue passenger kilometres for July rose 3.6 per cent, compared to the same month in 2018.

This was down from 5.1 per cent annual growth recorded in June. All regions posted traffic increases. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 3.2 per cent and load factor rose 0.3 percentage point to 85.7 per cent, which is a new high for any month.

IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said July’s performance marked a soft start to the peak passenger demand season.

“Tariffs, trade wars, and uncertainty over Brexit are contributing to a weaker demand environment than we saw in 2018. At the same time the trend of moderate capacity increases is helping to achieve record load factors,” de Juniac said.

The July international passenger demand rose 2.7 per cent compared to July 2018, which was a deceleration compared to the 5.3 per cent growth recorded in June. Capacity climbed 2.4 per cent, and load factor edged upward 0.2 percentage point to 85.3 per cent. All regions reported growth, led by airlines in Latin America.

African airlines’ July traffic rose 3.6 per cent, a significant decline from 9.8 per cent growth recorded in June, as weakening business confidence in South Africa offset solid economic conditions elsewhere on the continent. Capacity rose 6.1 per cent, and load factor slipped 1.7 percentage points to 72.9 per cent.Asia-Pacific airlines’ July traffic rose 2.7 per cent over the year-ago period, a slowdown compared to June growth of 3.9 per cent and their weakest performance since early 2013.

Capacity increased 2.4 per cent and load factor rose 0.2 percentage point to 82.6 per cent. US-China and Japan-South Korea trade tensions as well as political tensions in Hong Kong all have weighed on business confidence.European carriers registered a modest 3.3 per cent annual growth in July, down from a 5.6 per cent year-over-year increase in June. This is the slowest rate of growth since mid-2016.

Continuing uncertainty over Brexit and slowing German exports and manufacturing activity contributed to a weakening in business and consumer confidence. Capacity rose 3.2 per cent, and load factor climbed 0.1 percentage point to 89.0 per cent, highest among the regions.Middle East carriers had a 1.6 per cent increase in demand for July, well down on the 8.3 per cent growth recorded for June, after the end of Ramadan.

Weakness in global trade, volatile oil prices and heightened geopolitical tensions have been negative factors for the region. July capacity climbed 1.0 per cent compared to a year ago and load factor rose 0.4 percentage point to 81.3 per cent.North American airlines’ traffic climbed 1.5 per cent compared to July a year ago. This was down from 3.5 per cent growth in June, reflecting the slowdown in the U.S. and Canadian economies and the trade disputes.

July capacity rose 0.7 per cent with the result that load factor climbed 0.7 percentage point to 87.9 per cent, second highest among the regions.Latin American airlines experienced a 4.1per cent rise in traffic in July, which was the strongest growth among the regions but a decline from 5.8 per cent year-over-year growth in June.

It occurred amid continued disruption following the demise of Avianca Brasil and more challenging business conditions in some key regional economies. Capacity rose 2.7 per cent and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 85.6 per cent.

According to IATA, over the peak northern summer period, millions of people took to the skies to reunite with families, to explore the world or to simply enjoy well deserved vacations. “The aviation industry is working hard to ensure that the environmental costs of all travel are minimised.“The carbon footprint of the average air journey this year is half what it would have been in 1990. From 2020 overall net emissions will be capped. And realising the full potential of sustainable aviation fuels will play a major role in our 2050 target to cut overall net emissions to half 2005 levels.

“Unfortunately, with a host of environmental taxes planned or under consideration in Europe, it seems that governments are more interested in taxing aviation than partnering with industry to make it sustainable,” de Juniac said.


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Alexandre de JuniacIATA
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