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Middle East carriers see weak growth in January for passenger demand from previous year

Posted 7 March 2019 · Add Comment

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for January 2019 showing traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 6.5% compared to January 2018. This was the fastest growth in six months. January capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) rose 6.4%, and load factor inched up 0.1 percentage point to 79.6%.

 

Middle East carriers had the weakest growth, with demand up just 1.5% compared to January 2018. Nevertheless, this still was improved over a 0.1% drop in traffic in December. It is premature to say whether this improvement represents a trend. Capacity climbed 3.2% and load factor fell 1.3 percentage points to 75.6%.

Other international Passenger Markets 

International passenger demand rose 6.0% in January compared to the same month last year, which was up from a 5.3% rise in December year-over-year. All regions recorded growth, led by Europe for a fourth consecutive month. Capacity increased 5.8% and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage point to 79.8%.

European carriers' international traffic climbed 7.7% in January compared to the year-ago period, down from an 8.6% annual increase in December. This moderation likely reflects uncertainty over the region's economic situation, including lack of clarity over Brexit. Capacity rose 8.8% and load factor fell 0.9 percentage point to 80.3%.

Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 7.1% compared to January 2018, solidly above the 5.0% growth in December. Capacity rose 5.1%, and load factor surged 1.5 percentage points to 81.7%, second highest among the regions. Healthy regional growth is being underpinned by rising incomes and an increase in the number of airport pairs. 

North American airlines experienced a 4.7% traffic rise over a year ago, improved from a 3.7% annual rise the month before, while capacity climbed 3.5% and load factor increased 1.0 percentage point to 80.6%. Demand is being supported by comparatively strong economic conditions which have delivered a low unemployment rate and bolstered consumer spending.

Latin American airlines' traffic climbed 5.8% in January compared to January 2018. Although this represented a slight softening compared to the growth in December of 6.1%, signs are that passenger volumes have accelerated a little in recent months in seasonally-adjusted terms. Capacity rose 6.7%, however, and load factor slipped 0.7 percentage point to 82.8%, which still was the highest among the regions.

African airlines saw January traffic rise 5.1%, up from 3.8% in December. Concerns continue about the region's largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, however. The region's capacity rose 2.9%, and load factor jumped 1.5 percentage points to 70.9%.  

 

 

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