Asia-Pacific carriers showed a 5.5% expansion in demand
over the previous year period. This was ahead of
capacity expansion of 3.1%, pushing load factors to
75.4%. In April, the region’s carriers recorded 8.6%
growth—heavily skewed from the impact of the Japanese
earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Compared to April,
demand actually declined 0.8%, while load factors
slipped 0.4 percentage points.
Middle East carriers showed the strongest growth at
15.8%, outstripping capacity expansion of 11.9%. Load
factors were the second-weakest among regions at 74.0%.
This is, however, a 0.4% point improvement compared to
April. The Middle East carriers were the only ones to
report aggregate accelerated demand growth compared to
April, when the region’s airlines reported 15.2% growth.
Latin American airlines recorded solid growth of 7.4%.
This was ahead of a 5.5% capacity expansion and left
load factors at 77.1%, 1.4% points ahead of May 2011
African airlines saw demand growth of 9.7% compared to
May 2011, below a capacity expansion of 11.8%. Load
factors stood at 62.9%.
Domestic markets grew at slightly less than half the
rate of international markets, just 2.7%. This was
significantly below the 4.1% year-on-year growth
recorded in April. Load factors of 78.8% were 0.8%
points below the 79.6% reported for May 2011.
Japan experienced the strongest traffic growth, up 14.8%
year-on-year. If we strip out the impact of the Japanese
earthquake and tsunami, IATA estimates that Japanese
domestic traffic still would have improved year-on-year
by about 4%. Load factors of 58.4% were the lowest among
major domestic markets.
China’s domestic demand has slowed to growth rates last
seen in early 2011. This reflects a slowdown across the
Chinese economy. Traffic rose 4.4% against an 8.3%
increase in capacity, pushing load factors down to
78.6%. Compared to April, domestic demand was virtually
domestic demand slipped 0.1% in May while capacity rose
by 0.3%. Load factors dipped slightly to 84.3%, still
the highest among all the domestic markets.
Brazil experienced the strongest growth after Japan,
with traffic up 7.2% on a 6.7% rise in capacity. Load
factors rose to 65%. However growth softened compared to
April, declining 3.1%.
Indian domestic traffic rose just 0.1% year-over-year,
but fell 2.7% compared to April. Load factors stood at
Air Freight (Domestic and International)
Air freight markets stood at 1.9% below previous year
levels in May. Compared to April, there was a 0.4%
contraction. Taking a broader perspective, air freight
has improved by a small 1.5% since hitting bottom in
2011. But this growth has been narrowly focused on the
Middle East carriers.
European airlines experienced the steepest decline in
freight traffic, posting a 5.7% decline compared to a
year ago on a 1% rise in capacity. North American
airlines had a 1.9% drop in demand while capacity was
trimmed by 1.6%. Asia-Pacific carriers saw a 4.1%
decline in demand in May compared to the previous year,
while capacity dipped just 1.7%.
Latin American airlines’ demand rose 0.2%, while
capacity climbed 0.5%.
Middle Eastern carriers posted a 12.4% increase in
demand, which exceeded an 11.7% rise in capacity. Half
of this year’s growth in cargo markets has been captured
by the Middle East carriers.
African carriers’ results were not available but will
return next month.
Evidence of the importance of aviation abounds:
The Rio+20 meeting brought together over 22,000
delegates to discuss the future of the planet.
About 15,000 athletes, over 20,000 media and many more
spectators will converge on London to watch the
And some 600 million people are expected to fly over the
months of July and August as families and friends
reunite, businesses find new opportunities and travelers
experience new lands.
“Whether bringing people together or moving cargo
around the globe, aviation is vital to modern life.
The G-20 leaders recognized the critical role of
aviation which is the backbone of travel and tourism
that is a vehicle for job creation, economic growth
and development. Now we need governments to move
from recognition to action with tax policies that
don’t kill growth, regulation that enables growth
and infrastructure to accommodate growth,” said