ME airlines see world's highest traffic growth
Geneva, May 6, 2014
Middle East carriers had the strongest year-on-year traffic growth in March at 10 per cent as airlines continue to benefit from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, a report said.
The Gulf nations are benefitting from acceleration in non-oil sectors of their economies and positive developments in sectors such as trade, transport and tourism, added report from the International Air Transport Association (Iata) announcing global passenger traffic results for March.
Capacity rose 10.7 per cent however, and load factor dipped 0.5 percentage points to 79.5 per cent for Middle Eastern airlines, the report said.
African airlines experienced the only contraction in demand among the regions, with demand down 2.6 per cent from a year ago.
The weakness in international air travel could be in part from the adverse economic developments in some parts of the continent, namely the slowdown of South Africa. Airlines in Africa have seen virtually no growth –only 0.2 per cent– during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.
Globally, revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) increased 3.1 per cent compared to March 2013. Although this represented a slowdown in comparison to the February year-over-year traffic increase of 5.6 per cent , cumulative traffic growth for the first quarter of 2014 was 5.6 per cent, which is a slight improvement over the 5.2 per cent overall growth achieved in 2013.
“After a number of very strong months we are seeing a slowing of demand growth. The strong performance of advanced economies nevertheless is likely to support the continued growth of traffic in the coming months,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s director general and CEO.
International passenger traffic rose 2.6 per cent in March, a significant slowdown compared to the 5.4 per cent increase in February. Capacity rose 5.5 per cent and load factor fell 2.3 percentage points to 78.0 per cent. Most regions experienced a slowdown in year-on-year growth rates.
Asia Pacific carriers experienced some of weakest traffic growth in March with international traffic up just 1.1 per cent compared to a year ago.
European carriers’ international traffic climbed 2.0 per cent in March compared to the year-ago period, down from a 5.7 per cent growth rate a month earlier, while North American airlines saw demand rise 0.6 per cent in March compared to a year ago, a slowdown on the February growth rate of 2.0 per cent.
Latin America was the only region to see an improvement in March compared to February, with regional carriers registering a rise of 4.7 per cent year-on-year, compared to 4.2 per cent in the prior month.
“Rising demand for air travel tapered in March, following months of increasing demand. Aviation is crucial for economic expansion and development. But it is up to governments to treat aviation as a partner, not as an easy target for overly excessive taxation and onerous regulation or to have its infrastructure needs neglected. When aviation is treated as an economic enabler the industry is able to rise to its full potential as a key engine of growth and job creation,” said Tyler.
Last week, the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) released new research confirming aviation’s important role in driving economic growth. Research conducted by Oxford Economics in ATAG’s Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders publication highlights that globally aviation supports over 58 million jobs and some $2.4 trillion in economic activity (equal to 3.4 per cent of global GDP).
“Every day nearly 100,000 flights carry 8.6 million passengers and $17.5 billion of goods to their destination. This activity not only helps to drive economies forward, it enriches the world by bringing people together in a global community,” said Tyler.
From June 1 to 3, the global aviation community will meet for the Iata Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Doha, Qatar.
“Qatar is a great example of a country in which aviation is playing a very strategic role in driving growth and prosperity. It is a great location to remind people of the potential of aviation as the industry celebrates its 100th anniversary,” said Tyler. – TradeArabia News Service