Home » Aviation » Passage, cargo traffic zooms past pre-crisis levels in May

INTERNATIONAL air passage and cargo traffic for May jumped out of recession levels and even outperformed its pre-crisis levels.

Latest data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed that international passenger volume increased 11.7% while cargo volume posted an even higher growth of 34.3% in May.

Demand rebounded strongly in May following the impact of the European volcanic ash fiasco in April. Passenger traffic is now 1% above pre-recession levels while the freight market is 6% more.

A capacity increase of 4.8% in May lagged behind the strong upturn in passenger demand. This pushed May’s international passenger load factor to 76%.

Similarly, the strong surge in cargo traffic outstripped a capacity increase of 12.3%, pushing load factors to a record high of 55.7%.

IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said in the short-term, airlines need to focus its efforts on nurturing the recovery by continuing to match capacity carefully to improving demand conditions.

“And everybody must control costs. This includes airports, air navigation service providers, global distribution systems and labor. There are no exceptions,” said Bisignani.

Latin American and African carriers recorded the fastest increases in cargo volume at 60.2% and 58.2%, respectively.

Asia-Pacific airlines, which represent the largest market share (45%) grew 38.7% compared to the previous May on the strength of resurgent regional manufacturing. North American and Middle East airlines posted a similar growth of 35.3% and 38.6%, respectively.

European carriers showed the weakest growth at 21.9%. It is anticipated that the 15% fall in the value of the Euro will stimulate outbound traffic with cheaper European exports.

European airlines recorded an 8.3% growth in passage traffic compared to May 2009, however, this still puts Europe as the region with the weakest growth. Weak economic growth, questions over financial stability and sharply tightening fiscal policies will likely result in continued slower demand growth than is experienced in other parts of the world.

Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a 13.2% increase in demand in May 2010 over the same month in 2009. Asia-Pacific carriers continue to drive the recovery based on robust economic growth, primarily in China.

North American carriers saw a 10.9% increase in May over the same month last year. Careful matching of capacity to demand has driven the load factor to 82.4%, the highest among all regions.

Latin American carriers recorded the fastest growth in demand at 23.6% in May, supported by the region’s strong economic upturn.

Middle Eastern carriers recorded a 17.5% growth in May. The region’s carriers continue to post strong growth with connecting traffic through their hubs, although the pace of growth has dropped from the over 20% increases recorded earlier in the year.

African carriers reported a demand increase of 16.9% in May as the region’s carriers benefit from growing economies and more success in maintaining market share. At the same time, the region’s load factor was the weakest at 66.5%.

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