IATA: Air travel records fastest first-half growth in 12 years

The International Air Transport Association has announced global passenger traffic data for June showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers) rose by 7.8 per cent compared to last year. This was in line with the 7.7 per cent growth recorded in May, with all regions reporting growth. June capacity (in available seat kilometers) increased by 6.5 per cent, while load factors rose one percentage point to 81.9 per cent. For the first six months of 2017, the industry experienced a 12-year high in traffic growth (7.9 per cent) and a record first half load factor of 81 per cent. A brighter economic picture and lower airfares are keeping demand for travel strong. But as costs rise, this stimulus of lower fares is likely to fade. And uncertainties such as Brexit need to be watched carefully. Nonetheless, we still expect 2017 to see above-trend growth, said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general India led all markets with a 20.3 per cent rise in domestic traffic in June. However, the very strong upward trend in traffic has slowed since the country’s unexpected ‘demonetization’ in November 2016. India’s streak of year-on-year double-digit traffic growth may have ended with June. China’s domestic traffic surged 17.6 per cent in June, which was ahead of the first half growth rate of 15.2 per cent. There continues to be little sign of any slowdown in the traffic trend and second quarter GDP figures were stronger than expected. Air travel demand is continuing to be stimulated by supply factors, including on-going growth in the number of unique airport-pair routes served, which ultimately translates into time savings for passengers. Air travel recorded its fastest first-half growth in 12 years, pushing load factors to record highs. And the peak northern summer travel season is likely to be record-breaking. This is all good news. The demand for travel is strong and that, in turn, will make a positive contribution to the global economy. This growth will also further expose infrastructure deficiencies. In every part of the world airport and air navigation infrastructure is struggling to cope with demand. There are plenty of examples linking connectivity and economic prosperity. But few governments have been able to deliver on the imperatives of sufficient capacity, quality aligned with user needs and affordability. This year’s strong growth is a reminder that there is no time to lose, concluded de Juniac.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar