European carriers recorded 2.6% growth on international
services compared to October 2011, the highest growth
among the major regions although down from 5.5%
year-on-year growth recorded in September. The load
factor of 80.9% was the second strongest among the
regions. Compared to September, European carriers
experienced a 1.6% decline in traffic as Hurricane Sandy
negatively impacted transatlantic travel, but the
underlying growth trend continued despite weak or no
economic growth in many European economies.
North American airlines’ international traffic rose 0.2%
compared to October 2011 after rising 2.1% in September.
However, seat capacity declined 2.2%--reflecting the
impact of Sandy--and load factor rose 2 percentage
points to 82.2%, the highest among the regions. Demand
declined 0.9% compared to September.
Asia-Pacific carriers experienced an increase of just
1.4% compared to October 2011, unchanged from
September’s year-over-year performance. Strong
competition on long haul markets could be holding down
growth for the region’s airlines, and reductions in
international seat capacity by Indian airlines would
also be contributing to the weaker growth. Compared to
September, traffic rose 1.1%.
Middle East carriers experienced the strongest traffic
growth at 12.4% year-over-year, although this was nearly
matched by a 12.1% rise in capacity that held the rise
in load factor to just 0.2 percentage points to 75%.
Compared to September, traffic rose 1.1%.
Latin American airlines posted growth of 6.8%, second
best among the regions, although this was eclipsed by a
7.6% rise in capacity that pushed load factor down to
76.2% from 76.8%. Compared to September, traffic
declined 0.5%. The export-dependent continent remains
vulnerable to declines in global demand, but in the
second half of the year major economies like Brazil have
shown signs of acceleration in economic growth. In
September, consecutive quarterly expansion in GDP growth
marked an upturn in the Brazilian economy, helping
maintain demand for air travel.
African airlines’ traffic climbed 2.8% compared to
October 2011, while capacity rose 2.4%, raising load
factor 0.3 percentage points to 67.7%, the lowest of any
region. Demand declined 0.4% compared to September.
Domestic markets rose 2.1% in October compared to a year
ago, down from a 2.5% year-on-year rise recorded in
September. The domestic market growth trend has been
soft throughout most of 2012, and the market shrank 0.9%
between September and October, partly owing to the
impact of Hurricane Sandy on the US domestic market.
Weakness in India, Japan and the US, stands in stark
contrast to the strong growth experienced in China and
traffic slipped 0.7% in October while capacity fell by
1.1%, pushing load factor up to 84%, the highest among
all the domestic markets. IATA estimated that two-thirds
of all passengers impacted by Hurricane Sandy were US
domestic passengers. Demand declined 1.1% compared to
China’s domestic market continued to rebound from the
slowdown earlier this year with growth of 7.5% compared
to October 2011. With capacity up 11%, load factor
dropped 2.6 percentage points to 80.6%, which was still
among the highest for any domestic market. Demand
declined 1.5% compared to September.
Japan’s domestic market fell 0.5% versus the year-ago
period but climbed 1.5% compared to September. Capacity
rose 2.6% year-over-year and load factor was the lowest
for any market at 66.8%. The market still has not
recovered from the impact of the 2011 earthquake and
tsunami. Moreover, domestic demand in the export-driven
nation is suffering from the slowdown in global trade.
Brazil experienced the strongest growth, with traffic up
9.8% on a 0.9% rise in capacity, propelling load factor
up 6 percentage points to 73.2%. The healthy result
supports indications of an economic recovery in Brazil.
Traffic expanded 0.2% compared to September.
Indian domestic traffic plunged 12.4% in October
compared to a year ago, the worst performance for any
market, reflecting the weakening economy and the
struggles within the domestic airline industry. Capacity
declined 7.3% and load factor fell 4.1 percentage points
Air Freight (Domestic and International) - Air freight
demand fell sharply in October, down 3.5% compared to
October 2011 after being up 0.9% in September. The
weakness in demand continues to be focused on
Asia-Pacific airlines, while Middle East carriers
experienced strong demand growth. Airlines reduced
freight capacity 0.9% in October compared to September,
but this was not sufficient to offset the demand decline
with the result that unlike in passenger markets,
freight load factors have started to weaken.
Asia-Pacific carriers saw a 6.8% decline in demand in
October compared to October 2011, the steepest decline
for any region, while capacity fell 4.6%. Between
September and October, two-thirds of the fall in global
air freight volumes has come from Asia-Pacific carriers,
as demand for Asian exports declined in the weak global
economy. North American airlines had a 5.3% drop in
demand, with a 5.4% reduction in capacity. European
airlines had a 4.3% decline in traffic, with just a 1.7%
decline in capacity. Europe’s airlines have seen only a
1% rise in demand since the 2011 fourth quarter.
Middle Eastern carriers’ 13.4% rise in traffic came on
an 8.6% rise in capacity, raising load factor 2
percentage points to 46.4%.
Latin American airlines’ demand climbed 0.9% but this
was exceeded by an 8.6% hike in capacity that pushed
load factor down 3 percentage points to 39.3%.
African carriers saw a 0.5% decline in demand and a 2.7%
rise in capacity. Load factor of 26.6% was the weakest
for any region.
Hurricane Sandy was the big news story of October for
the aviation industry. In total, nearly 17,000 flights
were cancelled to the five most affected airports (the
three New York area airports of John F. Kennedy, Newark
and LaGuardia as well as Washington-Dulles and
Philadelphia). At the peak of the storm on Monday 29
October 8-9% of global capacity was grounded which is
equal to 1.6 billion available seat kilometers.
conservative estimate of lost revenues as a result of
the hurricane is $0.5 billion. While there would be some
savings from unused fuel, additional costs including
those for passenger care and out-of-position crew would
have been incurred.
“The human toll and physical destruction of Hurricane
Sandy remain foremost in our minds. It also dealt the
airline industry a $0.5 billion blow at a time when it
can least afford it,” said Tyler. “At the same time, the
disruption of thousands of flights demonstrated just how
connected the aviation industry has made the world.
Direct flight cancellations reached airports as far
apart as Singapore, Johannesburg and Santiago. Meetings
were cancelled, shipments delayed, conferences postponed
and supply chains disrupted. A smooth functioning
aviation industry is a critical component of modern life
that is often taken for granted.”
Globally air transport provides jobs for some 57 million
people and supports $2.2 trillion in economic activity
by connecting people and goods on 35,000 routes.