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Global air passenger traffic growth slows in Sept: IATA

Published : 06 Nov 2018, 20:29

Updated : 06 Nov 2018, 20:30

  DF-Xinhua Report

File Photo Finavia.

Global air traffic revenue in passenger kilometers rose 5.5 percent compared to the same month in 2017, but slipped from the 6.4 percent growth of August year-over-year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Tuesday.

Capacity climbed 5.8 percent, but the load factor slipped for the first time in eight months, down 0.3 percentage point compared to the year-earlier period, to 81.4 percent.

"While September's traffic growth was in line with the long-term average, it represents a moderation compared to recent months," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

He said this is likely owing to the anticipated reduced demand boost from lower airfares due to rising airline cost pressures, particularly fuel.

"Heightened uncertainty about trade policies and mounting protectionist policies may also be having an impact," said de Juniac.

Asia-Pacific airlines' traffic rose 5.4 percent in September compared to the year-ago period. However, this was down from 7.4 percent annual growth in August.

The steep decline in part reflects the impacts of typhoon activity in the region including the multi-day closure of Kansai International Airport in Japan.

North American airlines experienced a 5.0 percent rise in demand in September, which was an increase over 3.7 percent year-over-year growth recorded in August.

Strong momentum in the U.S. economy is helping underpin a pick-up in international demand for airlines in the region, said IATA.

European carriers saw September revenue is passenger kilometers rise 5.2 percent over September 2017, in line with August growth of 5.4 percent. However, the upward trend in seasonally-adjusted demand has slowed considerably since early 2018.

Middle East carriers had a 1.8 percent rise in demand, which was a four-month low. IATA said that as in previous months, the volatility in the region's growth rate mainly reflects the developments in 2017 such as the cabin ban on large portable electronic devices and the proposed travel bans to the United States.

African airlines posted a 6.0 percent rise of revenue in passenger kilometers in September, down from 6.8 percent in August, taking place in an increasingly challenging economic backdrop for the region's largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, said IATA.