International Air Traffic Up Emerging Concern Over Oil Prices
March 2, 2011 - The International Air Transport
Association (IATA) announced international scheduled
traffic results for January showing an 8.2% increase in
passenger traffic and 9.1% growth in air freight
compared to January 2010.
“We begin the year with some good news. January traffic
volumes are up—8.2% on January 2010 and 2.6% on
December. With most major indices pointing to
strengthening world trade and economic growth, this is
positive for the industry’s prospects,” said Giovanni
Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“But we are all watching closely as events unfold in the
For each dollar it increases, the industry is challenged to recover $1.6 billion in additional costs. With $598 billion in revenues, $9.1 billion in profits and a profit margin of just 1.5%, even with good news on traffic 2011 is starting out as a very challenging year for airlines.”
By January 2011, air travel volumes were 18% higher compared to the low point reached in early 2009 and some 6% above the pre-recession peak of early 2008. Air freight in January was 39% above the low point reached at the end of 2009 and some 6% above the pre-recession peak of early 2008. Freight has, however, fallen 2% since its May 2010 peak at the height of the re-stocking bubble.
International Passenger Demand
growth in passenger traffic shows a recovery from December’s
slowdown (with 5.4% growth) that was related to severe weather
in Europe and
load factors are high, but there is evidence that supply growth
is beginning to run ahead of demand. Compared to the previous
January, the 8.2% demand increase was outstripped by a 9.1%
increase in capacity, resulting in an average load factor of
75.7%. Adjusting for seasonality this is equates to a 77.7% load
factor. This is a 1.1 percentage point drop from the October
carriers recorded an 8.7% year-on-year growth in demand and a 10.0%
increase in capacity in January. This imbalance saw load factors slip by
nearly a full percentage point to 77.2%.
International passenger traffic carried by North American
airlines has now recovered to 2% above its pre-recession peak of early
Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a 5.8% year-on-year demand increase in January, more than double the 2.8% increase recorded in December. Increasingly strong economic growth is driving the acceleration in travel market growth. Capacity increased by 7.0%, pushing the load factor down 0.9 percentage points to 77.7%.
carriers recorded an 11.0% growth in demand and a 12.4% growth in
capacity. The region’s load factor fell by 1 percentage point to 79.7%
but it is still the highest in the world. Traffic volumes in January
were some 16% higher than the pre-recession peak in early 2008. Latin
American traffic comparisons have now been adjusted to eliminate the
impact of the Mexicana bankruptcy and more accurately reflect the growth
taking place with carriers actually operating in the region.
grew by 14.3% year-on-year and passenger traffic levels are now around
28% higher compared to the previous peak reached in early 2008. However,
this market has a relatively small impact as it represents about 3% of
the total traffic. African load factor grew slightly to 68.7%, the
lowest of any region.
volumes expanded at a robust 9.1% in January after a revised 7.3% in
December and 6.9% in November. Freight load factor stood at 49.2%. All
regions reported levels relatively unchanged from a year ago. The
seasonally-adjusted freight load factor of 53% reported in January is
within a range of 52-54% since mid 2010, as demand and supply conditions
are now stabilizing.
carried by Asia-Pacific carriers showed a 6.4% year-on-year increase.
While this growth is slightly lower than the 7.2% reported for December
2010, the volume of freight carried by airlines based in the region
actually increased by 2% during January alone. The growth in January
takes the volume of air freight carried to 6% above the pre-recession
peak level and 48% higher than the recession trough.
Freight carried by
North American carriers was up 14.1% in January compared to levels a
year ago, the highest of any region. The volume of traffic has grown by
11% since November last year, and now sits 10% above the pre-recession
peak. The much weaker economic climate in
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