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Middle East carriers recorded a 3.4% demand increase in February

Posted 9 April 2018 · Add Comment

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for February showing a rebound in traffic growth following the slower demand experienced in January, which was owing to temporary factors including the later timing of the Lunar New Year in 2018.

 

Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) for the month rose 7.6%, compared to February 2017, up from 4.6% year-over-year growth in January. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.3%, and load factor rose 0.9 percentage point to 80.4%, surpassing the previous record for the month of 79.5%, which was set in February 2017.

"As expected, we saw a return to stronger demand growth in February, after the temporary slowdown in January. This is being supported by the robust economic backdrop and solid business confidence. However, increases in fuel prices--and labor costs in some countries--likely will temper the amount of traffic stimulation from lower airfares this year," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

February international passenger demand rose 7.2% compared to February 2017, which was up from the 4.2% increase recorded in January. Led by airlines in Latin America, all regions recorded better year-on-year growth compared to January's results. Total capacity climbed 5.9%, and load factor rose 1.0 percentage point to 79.3%.

Middle East carriers recorded a 3.4% demand increase in February compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 3.9% and load factor slipped 0.3 percentage point to 74.1%. Carriers in the region faced significant headwinds over the past year including the temporary ban on large portable electronic devices as well as the proposed travel bans to the US from some countries in the region,

European carriers saw February demand increase by 6.8% compared to a year ago, a modest acceleration compared to a 6.0% increase in January. Passenger volumes are trending upwards at a double-digit annualized rate alongside supportive economic conditions in the region. Capacity rose 5.0% and load factor increased 1.4 percentage points to 82.2%, highest among regions.

Asia-Pacific airlines' February traffic rose 9.1% compared to the year-ago period. Demand is being supported by healthy regional economic growth and expansion in the number of routes on offer. Capacity increased 8.4% and load factor climbed 0.6 percentage point to 80.5%.

 

 North American airlines' traffic climbed 7.2% in February, supported by the relatively vigorous US economic backdrop, while the weaker dollar appears to be offsetting some of the negative impacts on inbound travel. Capacity rose 4.6% and load factor was up 1.9 percentage points to 78.0%.

 

Latin American airlines posted the fastest year-on-year growth for a second consecutive month as February traffic jumped 9.8% compared to February 2017, up from 8.1% growth in January. Demand continues to recover from the impacts of the severe 2017 hurricane season. Capacity increased by 8.9%, and load factor rose 0.6 percentage point to 81.5%.

 

African airlines experienced a 6.3% rise in traffic for the month compared to the year-ago period. The growth occurred amid an improving regional economic backdrop. Business confidence in Nigeria has risen sharply over the past 15 months while a reduction in political uncertainty in South Africa has contributed to an improvement in business confidence there for the first time in more than a year. Capacity rose 3.3%, and load factor climbed 1.9 percentage points to 67.8%.

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