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Solid but Moderating Passenger Demand in November

January 10, 2019 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

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.

November 2018
(% year-on-year)
World share1 RPK ASK PLF
(%-pt)2
PLF
(level)3
Total Market 100.0% 6.2% 6.8% -0.4% 80.0%
Africa 2.2% 2.2% 1.2% 0.7% 69.8%
Asia Pacific 33.8% 6.3% 7.4% -0.8% 80.2%
Europe 26.7% 8.8% 8.8% 0.0% 81.7%
Latin America 5.1% 6.2% 6.0% 0.1% 82.0%
Middle East 9.4% 2.6% 5.2% -1.8% 69.4%
North America 22.8% 5.1% 5.0% 0.0% 83.6%

1% of industry RPKs in 2017 2Year-on-year change in load factor 3Load factor level

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%.
  • 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%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic travel demand rose 5.6% in November 2018 compared to the same month in 2017, its slowest pace in 11 months and down from 6.5% in October. All markets except Australia showed growth. Domestic capacity climbed 6.9%, and load factor dropped 1.0 percentage point to 82.8%.

November 2018
(% year-on-year)
World share1 RPK ASK PLF
(%-pt)2
PLF
(level)3
Domestic 35.9% 5.6% 6.9% -1.0% 82.8%
Australia 0.9% -0.7% -1.1% 0.3% 82.6%
Brazil 1.2% 5.3% 4.1% 1.0% 83.6%
China P.R 9.1% 7.2% 10.2% -2.3% 82.0%
India 1.4% 13.3% 19.8% -4.8% 84.4%
Japan 1.1% 1.5% 3.0% -1.1% 75.6%
Russian Fed. 1.4% 13.8% 10.9% 2.1% 81.6%
US 14.3% 4.9% 5.9% -0.8% 85.2%

1% of industry RPKs in 2017   2Year-on-year change in load factor   3Load factor level
*Note: the seven domestic passenger markets for which broken-down data are available account for 30% of global total RPKs and approximately 82% of total domestic RPKs

  • India’s domestic traffic rose 13.3% in November compared to November 2017, marking the 51st consecutive month of double-digit domestic growth. However, it was also the slowest increase in 16 months.
  • Brazil’s domestic traffic rose to a four-month high of 5.3% in November, against a fragile economic backdrop.

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