Air passenger demand eases in Feb after strong start to year: IATA
04 Apr 2019, 21:36 ( 3 Months ago) | updated: 04 Apr 2019, 21:37 ( 3 Months ago)
Global passenger traffic in February measured in revenue passenger kilometers climbed 5.3 percent, compared to the same month in 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Thursday.
The data showed the slowest rate of growth in more than a year but still in line with long-term demand trends said IATA.
Monthly capacity (available seat kilometer increased by 5.4 percent, and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 80.6 percent, which is still high by historical standards.
After January's strong performance, passenger demand settled "down a bit in February," meeting concerns about the broader economic outlook, said IATA.
"Continuing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and unresolved uncertainty over Brexit are also weighing on the outlook for travel," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
February international passenger demand rose 4.6 percent compared to a year before, marking a slowdown from 5.9 percent growth in January.
European carriers showed the most robust performance for a fifth consecutive month in February.
Passenger demand increased by 7.6 percent, compared to a year ago, unchanged from January.
"Europe's continuing strong performance provides a paradox given Brexit concerns and signs of a softer economic outlook," said IATA.
Asia-Pacific airlines' February traffic rose 4.2 percent compared to the same month the previous year, a substantial slowdown from the 7.2 percent increase recorded in January.
The timing of the Lunar New Year holiday in the first week of February this year may have shifted some traffic to January said IATA.
North American airlines' traffic climbed 4.2 percent in February, a decline from 5.4 percent growth in January.
Capacity rose 2.9 percent, and load factor was up 1.0 percentage point to 79.0 percent.
"Signs of softening economic activity at the end of 2018, in conjunction with the effects of ongoing tensions between the U.S. and several of its trading partners, may be mitigated by the region's low unemployment and generally sound economic backdrop," said IATA.
IATA represents some 290 airlines comprising 82 percent of global air traffic.