Global airline traffic slows

[30th May 2008]

Airport scene

New figures show that record oil prices and the credit crunch are having a worldwide affect on the demand for flights.

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) data for April shows that international passenger demand grew by 3%. Adjusting for the early Easter holiday, leap year and a 10% increase in transatlantic capacity due to the EU-US Open Skies treaty, IATA says passenger traffic demand increased 4% in April and the three previous months.

However, load factors – the measure of how many seats in a plane are occupied – fell by 1.5% in April to 75.4%.

“The impact of skyrocketing oil prices and weaker economies has made its way to traffic growth. At this time last year we were talking about 6.7% growth for the first four months of the year. This year it’s 4%. There has been a step change downwards,” comments IATA director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani.

“Combine slowing growth with skyrocketing oil prices and the industry outlook is grim at best,” adds Bisignani.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for airlines around the world. Middle Eastern airlines saw an 11% increase in traffic due to soaring oil revenues, developing tourism and additional airport and airline capacity.

In contrast, there was 5.6% less traffic and an 8.7% reduction in capacity in Africa. In Europe, passenger demand was up by 1.6%, but this represented a significant fall from the 3.7% increase in March.

Airlines in North America experienced a 3.8% increase in international passenger traffic, as capacity increased by 6.2%. The slowing economy in Japan saw passenger demand fall from 4.3% in March to 2.6% in April. Long haul routes to Europe and North America were hardest hit.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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Global Airline Traffic Slows