Home » Aviation » International freight, passenger volumes up in Nov

INTERNATIONAL Air Transport Association (IATA) and Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) carriers both saw freight and passenger volumes grow in November but at a slower pace.

Freight volume for IATA carriers inched up 5.4% and passenger volume by 8.2% in November compared to year-ago figures. However, month-on-month, the numbers reflect a slowdown. Freight growth was lower than the 14.5% posted in October and passenger traffic also down from October’s 10% uptick.

Cargo traffic for AAPA carriers, measured in freight ton kilometers, rose 10.6% in November compared to the same month last year.

In the passage industry, Asia-Pacific airlines carried 15.5 million international passengers, up 10.7% from the same month last year, anchored on strong regional travel demand.

International passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometer, grew 8.2%.

IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said the slowdown is partially skewed because of the exceptionally rapid rise in traffic volumes recorded during the fourth quarter of 2009. When viewed in absolute terms, air travel fell 0.8% and air freight by 1.1% between October and November 2011.

He added the slower growth does not necessarily signal a negative trend. “The industry is shifting gears in the recovery cycle. Growth is slowing towards normal historical levels in the 5-6% range. Relative weakness in developed markets is being offset by the momentum of economic expansion in developing markets.”

Bisignani said, “Slowing traffic growth is in line with our projections for a reduced profit of $9.1 billion in 2011. That’s a 1.5% margin. More hard work will be needed in the New Year to achieve sustainable levels of profitability.”

November freight carried by Asia-Pacific carriers showed a 4.1% year-on-year increase. The figure is similar to what was handled at the pre-recession peak of 2008.

Middle Eastern carriers saw 12.4% year-on-year freight growth for November.

North American carriers posted a 1.5% year-on-year growth in November, but overall volumes remain 7% below the pre-recession levels of early 2008.

European carriers experienced a similar pattern with 6.6% year-on-year growth in November but overall volumes remaining 12% below pre-recession levels.

In the passage business, Europe’s carriers recorded 7.3% growth in passenger traffic, below the 9.4% recorded in October.

North American carriers saw their growth slow from 12.4% in October to 9.5% in November. Capacity growth in November was 9.5%, resulting in a load factor of 78.1%, the highest among the regions.

Asia-Pacific carriers saw their growth slow from 7.3% in October to 5.8% in November. Capacity expanded relatively in tandem (5.9%) for a load factor of 75.6%.

Latin American carriers showed the most dramatic decline in growth rates from 4.9% in October to virtually zero in November while Middle East carriers saw their growth rate decline from 17.8% in October to 16.7% in November.

African carriers were the only ones to show an increase in growth rates from October (12.6%) to November (16.4%). The region’s carriers moved 11% more travelers in November than they did at the pre-recession peak in early 2008.

Leading industry recovery

AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said Asia Pacific-based airlines have led the industry recovery this year, benefiting from robust demand for both business and leisure travel particularly in markets to, from and within Asia.

“Air cargo has also rebounded very strongly this year, although the reported monthly growth rates are beginning to moderate as supply chain inventories are rebalanced,” he explained.

“Overall, for the first eleven months of the year, the number of international passengers carried by Asia Pacific Airlines increased by 13.8%, while international cargo volume recorded a 26.3% growth.”

Herdman concluded, “Asia Pacific carriers have managed their way successfully through the downturn, and are on track to report significantly improved financial results for the full year 2011.”

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