Passenger traffic peaked by 4.3 per cent in April
April capacity increased by 3.6 per cent, and load factor climbed 0.6 percentage point to 82.8 per cent, which was a record for the month of April, surpassing last year’s record of 82.2 per cent.
Regionally, Africa, Europe and Latin America posted record load factors. Comparisons between the two months are distorted owing to the timing of the Easter holiday, which occurred on 1 April in 2018 but fell much later in the month in 2019.
African airlines had a 1.1 per cent traffic increase in April, which was down from 1.6 per cent growth in March and was the slowest regional growth since early 2015.
Like Latin America, Africa is seeing some economic and political uncertainty in the largest markets. Capacity climbed 0.1 per cent, and load factor edged up 0.7 percentage point to 72.6 per cent.
IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said they experienced solid but not exceptional rising demand for air connectivity in April.
“This partly is owing to the timing of Easter, but also reflects the slowing global economy. Driven by tariffs and trade disputes, global trade is falling, and as a result, we are not seeing traffic growing at the same levels as a year ago. However, airlines are doing a very good job of managing aircraft utilisation, leading to record load factors,” de Juniac said.
April international passenger demand rose 5.1 per cent compared to April 2018. All regions recorded year-over-year traffic increases, led by airlines in Europe. Total capacity climbed 3.8 per cent, and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 82.5 per cent.
European airlines’ April traffic increased 8.0 per cent compared to the year-ago period, up from 4.9 per cent annual growth in March. While this represented the strongest monthly growth since December, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, RPKs have only risen by one per cent since November 2018, suggesting the global economic and trade backdrop – along with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit – is impacting demand. Capacity rose 6.6 per cent and load factor surged 1.1 percentage points to 85.7 per cent, highest among the regions.
Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 2.9 per cent traffic rise in April, up from two per cent growth in March but well below the long-term average. Capacity climbed 3.7 per cent and load factor dropped 0.6 percentage point to 80.8 per cent.
Asia-Pacific was the only region to experience a decline in load factor compared to the same month a year ago. Results largely reflect the slowdown in global trade, including the impact from the China-US trade tensions on the broader region, which continue to weigh on passenger demand.
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