Home » Aviation » International air passenger, cargo demand up in Oct

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) is expecting slower cargo and passenger traffic next year despite strong performance from both sectors in October.

"As we approach the end of 2010, growth is returning to a more normal pattern. Passenger demand is 5% above pre-crisis levels of early 2008, while freight is 1% above. Where we go from here is dependant on developments in the global economy," IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said.

"The US is spending more to boost its economy. Asia outside of Japan is barreling forward with high-speed growth. And Europe is tightening its belt as its currency crisis continues. The picture going forward is anything but clear, but for the time being, the recovery seems to be strengthening," Bisignani said.

In October, international freight demand increased 14.4% year-on-year while passenger demand grew 10.1% year-on-year.

According to IATA, freight could be at a turning point after volumes declined 5% since May. But it added that a single month does not make a trend. And it remains to be seen if this is the stabilization in freight volumes or the start of an upward trend.

Over the first 10 months of the year, passenger demand grew 8.5%, with a capacity expansion of 4%.

A cargo capacity expansion of 9.2% was well below the demand increase of 24%.

Forward schedules indicate a continuation of this trend, with a 7.5% passenger capacity increase planned for the half-year scheduling period beginning at the end of October.

The 14.4% year-on-year increase in freight traffic for October was marginally weaker than the 15.5% recorded in September.

Nonetheless, international freight volumes actually improved slightly from its September level on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Asia-Pacific airlines reported a 14.9% year-on-year increase in international freight demand, down from the 16.2% recorded in September.

With a 44% share of total freight traffic, the growth experienced by Asia-Pacific airlines played a large role in the uptick seen in overall industry freight volumes during October.

European airlines

European airlines recorded a 12.1% year-on-year demand increase in October while North American carriers saw a slightly larger improvement of 12.2%.

The 10.1% growth in passenger demand in October, on the other hand, is slightly below the 10.7% recorded in September, but both months are an improvement over August.

North American airlines posted a 12.4% demand increase over October 2009.

European carriers showed a 9.6% increase over October 2009. This is significantly better than the 8.6% growth reported for September.

Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 7.3% demand increase, ahead of a 5.3% increase in capacity. Volumes remain 1% below pre-crisis levels of early 2008.

African airlines recorded strong growth (13.3%) compared to October 2009. With a capacity increase of 8.9%, load factors improved to 71.8%.

Latin American airlines posted a comparatively weaker performance with a 4.9% increase in demand and a 0.7% drop in capacity. The region’s results remain skewed because of the bankruptcy of Mexicana.

Middle East carriers recorded the strongest growth for the month with an 18.0% increase in demand. This is despite the earlier Ramadan dates, which negatively skewed the numbers with a 1% fall in October traffic as compared to September. The region also had the largest capacity expansion at 13.7% compared to October 2009.

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