The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced healthy but moderating global passenger traffic results for November 2018.
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.2% compared to November 2017, a slight deceleration from 6.3% growth in October. Capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.8% over the year-ago period, and load factor dipped 0.4 percentage point to 80.0%. It was only the third time in two years that load factor fell on a year-to-year basis.
“Traffic is solid. But there are clear signs that growth is moderating in line with the slowing global economy. We still expect 6% demand growth this year. But trade tensions, protective tariffs and Brexit are all uncertainties that overhang the industry,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
African airlines experienced a 5.7% rise in demand compared to November 2017, down from 6.4% in October but higher than the five-year average of 5.8%. Growth is occurring despite challenges in the continent’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa. Capacity rose 3.9% and load factor climbed 1.2 percentage points to 68.9%.
Other International Passenger Markets
November international passenger demand rose 6.6% compared to the year earlier period, up from 6.2% in October. All regions showed growth, led by carriers in Europe. Total capacity climbed 6.7%, and load factor dipped 0.1 percentage point to 78.4%.
European carriers saw demand increase by 9.0% in November 2018, which was a nine-month high. Given the mixed signs on the economic backdrop in the region it is unclear whether this pace of growth can be sustained. Capacity climbed 9.1% and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 82.1%, the highest load factor among the regions.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ November traffic climbed 6.0% compared to the year-ago period, up from 5.7% growth in October. Capacity also rose 6.0% and load factor was flat at 79.1%. Growth is underpinned by rising living standards and continuing expansion of options for travelers.
Middle East carriers had a 2.8% demand increase, which was the lowest among the regions for a third consecutive month. Capacity rose 5.6% and load factor slipped 1.9 percentage points to 69.0%.
North American airlines’ traffic climbed 6.1%, in November, up from 5.7% in October and well ahead of the five-year average rate of 4.0%. Capacity rose 3.8% and load factor edged up 1.7 percentage points to 80.6%. Demand is supported by comparatively strong momentum in the US economy.
Latin American airlines’ November traffic climbed 5.8% compared to November 2017, which was an increase from 5.2% growth recorded in October. Despite the increase, growth has slowed on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Capacity rose 6.6% and load factor slipped 0.6 percentage point to 80.6%.