Monday 17 February 2020

ME airlines’ passenger traffic up 6.6pc in 2017

GENEVA, February 1, 2018

Middle East carriers’ passenger traffic increased 6.6 per cent last year, said the International Air Transport Association (Iata) in a new report, noting that the region was the only one to see a slowdown in annual growth compared to 2016.

The region’s share of global traffic (9.5 per cent) fell for the first time in 20 years. The market segment to/from North America was hit the hardest owing to factors including the temporary ban on large portable electronic devices in the aircraft cabin as well as the proposed US travel bans affecting some countries in the region. Capacity climbed 6.4 per cent and load factor rose 0.1 percentage point to 74.7 per cent.

African airlines saw 2017 traffic rise 7.5 per cent compared to 2016. Capacity rose at less than half the rate of demand (3.6 per cent), and load factor jumped 2.5 percentage points to 70.3 per cent. While indicators in South Africa are consistent with falling economic output, Nigeria has returned to growth, helped by the recent rise in oil prices.

Globally, demand (revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) for 2017 rose 7.6 per cent compared to 2016, Iata said in the report.

This was well above the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent. While the rate of demand growth slowed to 6.2 per cent in December 2017, compared to December 2016, this largely was owing to less favourable comparisons to the even stronger growth trend seen in the year-ago period. Full year 2017 capacity rose 6.3 per cent, and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to a record calendar-year high of 81.4 per cent.

"2017 got off to a very strong start and largely stayed that way throughout the year, sustained by a broad-based pick-up in economic conditions. While the underlying economic outlook remains supportive in 2018, rising cost inputs, most notably fuel, suggest we are unlikely to see the same degree of demand stimulation from lower fares that occurred in the first part of 2017," said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and CEO.

International passenger traffic soared 7.9 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016. Capacity rose 6.4 per cent and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 80.6 per cent. All regions recorded year-over-year increases in demand, led by the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions.

Asia-Pacific carriers posted annual demand growth of 9.4 per cent, compared to 2016, driven by robust regional economic expansion and an increase in route options for travellers. This was the first time since 1994 that Asia-Pacific led all the regions in annual growth rate. Capacity rose 7.9 per cent, and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 79.6 per cent.

European carriers’ international traffic climbed 8.2 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year, underpinned by buoyant economic conditions in the region. Capacity rose 6.1 per cent and load factor surged 1.6 percentage points to 84.4 per cent, which was the highest for any region.

North American airlines had their fastest demand growth since 2011, with full year traffic rising 4.8 per cent compared to 2016. Capacity climbed 4.5 per cent, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to 81.7 per cent.

Latin American airlines’ traffic climbed 9.3 per cent in 2017, the fastest rate since 2011. However, the upward trend weakened towards the end of the year, partly owing to disruption caused by the severe 2017 hurricane season that also hurt travel to the US. Capacity rose 8.0 per cent and load factor increased 1.0 percentage point to 82.1 per cent, second highest among the regions.

Domestic air travel climbed 7.0 per cent last year. All markets showed annual growth led by India, China, and Russia, albeit with wide variation. Capacity increased 6.2 per cent and load factor was 83.0 per cent, up 0.7 per cent percentage point compared to 2016.

"Last year, more than 4 billion passengers used aviation to reunite with friends and loved ones, to explore new worlds, to do business, and to take advantage of opportunities to improve themselves,” said de Juniac.

“The connectivity provided by aviation enables goods to get to markets, and aid to be delivered to those in need. Aviation truly is the business of freedom, liberating us from the restraints of geography to lead better lives. Aviation can do even more in 2018, supported by governments that recognize and support our activities with smarter regulation, fairer taxation, cost efficient infrastructure and borders that are open to people and trade,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Iata | Passenger traffic | Middle East carriers | 2017 |

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