IATA: Airline passenger demand slows down in February

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 4): The total distance travelled by paying airline passengers — also known as revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) — rose by 5.3 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) globally in February, the slowest rate of growth in more than a year, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

 Nonetheless, this was still in line with long-term demand trends, it said in a statement today.

Monthly capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 5.4 percent, and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 80.6 percent, which was still high by historic standards, the association said.

“After January’s strong performance, we settled down a bit in February, in line with concerns about the broader economic outlook. Continuing trade tensions between the United States and China, and unresolved uncertainty over Brexit are also weighing on the outlook for travel,” IATA director general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said.

February international passenger demand rose 4.6 percent compared with February 2018, which was a slowdown from the 5.9 percent growth in January, IATA said.

Capacity climbed 5.1 percent and load factor dropped 0.4 percentage point to 79.5 percent.

Airlines in all regions but the Middle East showed traffic growth versus the year-ago period, said IATA, which represents some 290 airlines accounting for 82 percent of global air traffic.

Asia Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 4.2 percent y-o-y in February, a major slowdown from the 7.2 percent increase recorded in January.

Meanwhile, domestic travel demand rose 6.4 percent in February compared to a year earlier, down from 7.4 percent annual growth in January, IATA said.

All markets except Australia reported increases in traffic, with India recording its 54th consecutive month of double-digit percentage growth.

Domestic capacity climbed 5.8 percent, and load factor edged up 0.5 percentage point to 82.4 percent.