Alarming Drop for
September International Traffic
Istanbul - The International Air Transport
Association (IATA) announced global international traffic results for
September. Passenger traffic declined 2.9% while cargo traffic dropped 7.7%
compared to the same month in 2007. International load factors tumbled by 4.4%
percentage points from August to 74.8% in September.
“The deterioration in traffic is alarmingly fast-paced and widespread. We
have not seen such a decline in passenger traffic since SARS in 2003,” said
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “Even the good news that
the oil price has fallen to half its July peak is not enough to offset the
impact of the drop in demand. At this rate, losses may be even deeper
than our forecast US$5.2 billion for this year,” said Bisignani.
- This is the first time since the SARS crisis in
2003 that global passenger traffic has shrunk. Capacity cuts were not
able to keep pace with the fall in demand. September load factors in all
regions fell compared to August.
- For September, all major regions reported that
passenger traffic shrank, with the exception of Latin American carriers
which saw an increase of 1.7%. Even this is shockingly down from the
11.9% growth of the previous month.
- Up to August, the drop in international passenger
traffic was isolated to Asia
The economies of the region’s two major growth markets - China and India
- slowed and Japan saw industrial production drop 5% in August. The
sharp downturn in world trade disproportionately impacted Asia-Pacific
carriers with a 6.8% drop in traffic in September.
- The steady 5% international growth of North American carriers
turned into a 0.9% contraction.
- European carriers saw traffic
drop from last year (-0.5%) as the region’s economies head for
- After years of double-digit growth, passenger
traffic by Middle
Eastern carriers turned to a negative 2.8%. While the
region’s oil-based economy remains strong, the large portion of transit
traffic exposes the region’s carriers to the global economic weakness.
- African carriers posted the
largest decline in traffic (-7.8%), a continuation of the previous
- This is the worst decline since the technology
bubble burst in 2001.
- Declines in air freight have slowed year-to-date
growth to 0.1%, with all regions except the Middle East and Africa
reporting negative results.
- The most alarming drop was with Asia Pacific
carriers - the largest players in the market. The region’s carriers
reported a 10.6% decline.
- Europe and North American carriers, which had seen
flat growth through August saw cargo traffic fall 6.8% and 6.0%
“The industry crisis is
deepening - along with the crisis in the global economy. Airlines, like all
other businesses, are facing enormous challenges. But unlike other companies,
they are denied some basic commercial freedoms - access to markets and to
global capital - that could help them manage their business in this difficult
time,” said Giovanni Bisignani.
The web of 3,500 bilateral air service agreements that govern international
air transport denies market access until specifically agreed. And the
ownership clauses that are contained in these agreements preclude mergers
“Look at what the banking industry is doing. They are taking government
handouts. They are accessing global capital. And we have seen mergers without
anybody asking to see the investors’ passports. Airlines are not asking for
handouts. But today’s crisis highlights the need for airlines to be able to
run their businesses like normal global businesses,” said Bisignani from
Istanbul on the eve of the Agenda for Freedom Summit.
IATA has taken the extra-ordinary step of facilitating a discussion among 15
progressive governments on the future regulatory structure of international
air transport. IATA circulated a paper among these governments examining
solutions within the bilateral system that could be quickly implemented to
expand opportunities for access to markets and to global capital.
“I hope that the Agenda for Freedom Summit will conclude as a successful
discussion that sparks a process of change by governments. We are not asking
for anything other than the basic freedoms to do business that other
industries take for granted,” said Bisignani.
full September traffic results
details on the Agenda for Freedom Summit
- IATA -
Notes for Editors:
- IATA (International Air Transport Association)
represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international
- Explanation of measurement terms:
- RPK: Revenue
Passenger Kilometres measures actual passenger traffic
- ASK: Available
Seat Kilometres measures available passenger capacity
- PLF: Passenger
Load Factor is % of ASKs used. In comparison of 2008 to 2007, PLF
indicates point differential between the periods compared
- FTK: Freight
Tonne Kilometres measures actual freight traffic
- ATK: Available
Tonne Kilometres measures available total capacity (combined passenger
- IATA statistics cover international scheduled air
traffic for airlines based in those markets; domestic traffic is not
- All figures are provisional and represent total
reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data.
Historic figures may be revised.
- International passenger traffic market shares by
region in terms of RPK are: Europe 32.8%, Asia Pacific 31.4%, North
America 19.2%, Middle East 9.2%, Latin America 4.4%, Africa 2.3%
- International freight traffic market shares by
region in terms of FTK are: Asia Pacific 44.7%, Europe 27.2%, North
America 17.2%, Middle East 7.7%, Latin America 2.1%, Africa 1.1%