Global air passenger traffic up 6.8pc in May
Geneva, June 30, 2011
Global air passenger traffic for May showed an increase of 6.8 per cent over that of May 2010, which marked a 4 per cent growth since the beginning of the year, said a senior official of the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
Freight traffic showed a drop of 4 per cent against the post-recession peak of the re-stocking cycle in May 2010, added Giovanni Bisignani, Iata’s director general and CEO.
However, recent months show a renewed upward trend with freight volumes 2 per cent higher than the start of the year, he said.
“We saw positive developments for the air transport volumes in May. International passenger load factors rebounded by 0.8 percentage points to 75.8 per cent. Freight volumes improved by 1.2 per cent over April and passenger volumes were up by 1.8 per cent. These will help to alleviate some of the pressure on profits from continued high fuel prices,” said Bisignani.
“But there are risks associated with political unrest in the Middle East and the European currency crisis. We still expect the industry to make $4 billion this year. That is a pathetic 0.7 per cent margin and another shock could alter the industry’s fortunes dramatically. It’s another tough year for a very fragile industry,” he added.
International passenger markets
Middle East carriers grew international traffic by 7.8 per cent over May 2010, slightly below a 9.6 per cent capacity expansion that saw load factors slip to 70.8 per cent, said a report issued by Iata.
While political unrest continues to have a dramatic impact on several of the region’s smaller markets, the overall impact on the region’s carriers is very limited, it added.
African airlines’ international traffic increased 1.1 per cent over the previous year. Travel markets to the region had been depressed by the impact of political unrest in Egypt and Tunisia. Flights to these two destinations are still about 20 per cent down.
However a significant 2.2 percentage point improvement in the load factor for the month does show initial signs of improvement, according to the report.
Asia-Pacific carriers recorded an expansion of 4.7 per cent, considerably below the global average of 8.0 per cent.
European carriers’ traffic expanded by 10.9 per cent, while Latin American carriers saw the fastest international growth, up 21.3 per cent compared to May 2010, and the fastest capacity expansion (15.2 per cent).
North American carriers have cut capacity for two consecutive months (-0.4 per cent in April and -0.5 per cent in May). Year-on-year, traffic is up 4.5 per cent and capacity increased by 5.5 per cent.
Domestic passenger markets
Japanese domestic demand was 29.9 per cent below May 2010 while capacity has been adjusted downwards by 20.8 per cent, though total volumes in May were 4.4 per cent higher than in April.
Brazil remained volatile but demand is up 21.6 per cent on May 2010 while capacity was 7.2 per cent higher. In China, demand was 10.4 per cent higher than the previous May, the domestic demand in India was 13.8 per cent above previous-year levels against a capacity expansion 19.9 per cent.
The mature US domestic demand grew by 4.0 per cent compared to the previous May.
Air freight markets showed a 4 per cent decline in May. This is skewed as a result of the May 2010 peak for of the post-recession restocking cycle. Since the beginning of the year, freight volumes have increased by a modest 2.0 per cent.
This is lower than the 5.5 per cent Iata forecast for 2011. While the continued expansion of world trade at around 6 per cent annually could lend support to accelerated freight growth in the second half of 2011, the performance so far this year has been lower than expected.
Carriers in all regions except Latin America (up 1.5 per cent) and the Middle East (+8.1 per cent) saw air freight declines compared to May 2010.
The largest fall was for Asia-Pacific carriers with a 9.2 per cent drop showing the impact of disrupted supply chains in Japan and tighter economic policies in China.
Declines by African carriers (down 7.8 per cent) reflected the disruption in Egypt and Tunisia. European and North American carriers had modest falls of 2.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively. – TradeArabia News Service
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