The global demand for tickets has slowed according to IATA
Although September traffic remained in line with the long-term average, performance moderated compared to the last months. Even so, Latin America achieved great growth
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published the results of passenger traffic for the month of September 2018. The demand, measured in passengers per kilometer transported (RPK, for its acronym in English) grew by 5.5% in September compared to the same month of the previous year, a fall compared to 6.4% year-on-year in August. Capacity increased by 5.8% and the load factor fell for the first time in eight months (0.3 percentage points), to 81.4%.
According to IATA, the impact of hurricanes and typhoons in September may have subtracted between 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points of the expected growth, but even taking into account their impact, the monthly demand of air passengers was below 6 , 7% registered so far this year.
"Although September traffic remained in line with the long-term average, performance moderated compared to the last months. The increase in air fares - due, mainly, to an increase in airline costs, especially due to the rise in fuel prices - may be the main reason for this slowdown. Also the uncertainty caused by trade and protectionist policies may be behind this slowdown, "said Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of IATA.
International passenger market
International RPKs grew by 4.9%. All regions registered growth with respect to 2017. Overall capacity increased by 5.1% and the load factor shrank by 0.1 percentage points to 81.2%.
In Asia-Pacific, international RPKs grew 5.4% year-on-year. The September figure was below 7.4% year-on-year in August. This sharp drop reflects, in part, the impact of typhoons in the region and the closure of the Kansai International Airport for several days. Capacity increased by 4.3% and the load factor climbed 0.9 percentage points to 79.2%.
In Europe, the RPKs increased by 5.2% year-on-year, in line with the 5.4% year-on-year in August. However, in seasonally adjusted terms, the positive growth trend has slowed considerably since the beginning of 2018. Capacity increased by 4.9% and the load factor rose by only 0.2 percentage points to 87.0%, the highest position.
In the Middle East, year-on-year demand reached a minimum of four months (1.8%). As in the previous months, the volatility of the growth rate in the region highlights the events of 2017, such as the prohibition of transporting large electronic devices or barriers to entry into the United States. Capacity increased by 5.3% and the load factor fell 2.4 percentage points to 72.3%.
In North America, airlines registered an interannual increase in demand of 5.0%, up from 3.7% year-on-year in August. Capacity increased by 5.4% and the load factor shrank by 0.3 percentage points to 80.8%. The good moment that the American economy is going through favors the interannual demand in the region.
Latin America led year-on-year growth with a rise of international RPK of 7.0%, well above the 4.4% in August. Passenger traffic is recovering little by little since the summer months, which coincided with the general strikes in Brazil. Capacity increased 9.8% (the largest increase with respect to the other regions) and the load factor shrank 2.1 percentage points to 80.3%.
In Africa, international RPKs grew by 6.0%, slightly below the 6.8% in August. Capacity increased by 4.9% and the load factor rose 0.8 percentage points to 74.6%. The sector improves despite the increasingly challenging economic context of South Africa and Nigeria, the two main economies in the region.
Domestic passenger market
Domestic demand rose 6.5% year-on-year in September 2018, a slowdown compared to the year-on-year figure for August (7.5%) due to the impact of extreme weather conditions. Capacity increased 7.4% and the load factor fell 0.6 percentage points to 81.6%.