Global passenger traffic results for May shows that demand measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 4.5 per cent compared to the same month in 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.
This was in line with the revised April traffic growth of 4.4 per cent and above the recent trough of 3.1 per cent year-on-year growth recorded in March. However, it remains below the 20-year average growth rate of around 5.5 per cent.
Capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) climbed by a modest 2.7 per cent and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 81.5 per cent, surpassing last year's record load factor of 80.1 per cent.
"Passenger demand growth has slowed compared to the past two years. This is in line with slumping global trade, rising trade tensions and weakening business confidence. In this challenging environment, airlines are managing capacity carefully in order to optimise efficiency," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
International traffic demand rose 4.3 per cent in May over the year-ago period which was down from 5.1 per cent growth in April. All regions recorded growth led by airlines in Latin America. Total capacity climbed 2.1 per cent with load factor jumping 1.7 percentage points to 80.4 per cent.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw their traffic rise 4 per cent in May compared to the year-ago period, an improvement over the 2.9 per cent increase in April. Capacity increased 3 per cent and load factor edged up 0.8 percentage point to 78.6 per cent.
This is the second consecutive monthly increase in demand but it still represents a soft outcome in a region that regularly saw double-digit growth rates over the past few years. The US-China trade tensions continue to weigh upon growth in the region.
Meanwhile, domestic traffic increased 4.8 per cent in May compared to May 2018, well above the 3 per cent year-over-year rise recorded in April. Russia was the only market to see double-digit demand growth. Domestic capacity rose 3.8 per cent and load factor climbed 0.8 percentage point to 83.4 per cent.
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