|For Immediate Release Date: 26 February 2008 No: 8|
January Traffic Could Signal Start of Slowdown
Year-on-year international passenger demand grew by 4.3% in January. This is sharply down from the 6.7% growth recorded in December and the 7.4% recorded for the full-year of 2007. Capacity growth of 4.2% saw load factors inch up to 75.1%. International cargo demand growth remained sluggish. At 4.5% for January it was largely unchanged from the 4.7% year-on-year growth recorded in December.
0.3%, European carriers saw
the largest fall (from 5.5% in December) and weakest growth of all
regions. While intra-Europe traffic remained relatively strong, the
largest drop came in long-haul markets. This is largely due the strong
Euro weakening the competitiveness of
· North American carriers recorded 5.0% growth in international passenger traffic, down slightly from the 6.0% recorded in December. US domestic traffic contracted by 3-4%, as carriers re-deployed capacity to more lucrative international routes. Increased competitiveness from a weak US dollar helped drive load factors to an industry leading 77.2%.
· Latin American airlines continue to see a sharp recovery (16.9% growth in January) on the back of strong economies, driven partly by Asian commodity demand, and continued restructuring. Middle Eastern growth slowed sharply to 7.4% but this seems due to slower growth in capacity rather than any change in the strong oil-driven upward trend in growth. African airlines saw a second disappointingly slow month of growth (2.8%), despite good regional economic growth.
· Steady year-on-year air freight growth of 4.5% was recorded in January. This runs contrary to downward trends in many leading indicators including semi-conductor shipments and manufacturing business confidence levels.
cargo has been growing at half the rate of global trade expansion,
indicating a loss of market share to shipping which has benefited from
faster ships and cheaper fuel costs. While aviation fuel rose 300% between
2002 and the first half of 2007, residual fuel for ships increased by
200%. During the last half of 2007 the gap narrowed with the sharp
increase in prices. The result is that air cargo has clawed back some lost
market share, masking any early impacts from the downturn in the
the larger freight markets there is continued strength. Asia Pacific airlines saw demand
increase 6.5%, up from 6% in December, boosted by the booming economies in
traffic results show that we could be at a turning point. A month’s data
is not enough to define a trend, however, the sharp shift in demand growth
patterns makes it clear that the
“This is an unusual situation for the industry. Asia outside of
Notes for editors:
· IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 94% of scheduled international air traffic.
· Explanation of measurement terms:
o RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometres measures actual passenger traffic
o ASK: Available Seat Kilometres measures available passenger capacity
o PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used. In comparison of 2007 to 2006, PLF indicates point differential between the periods compared
o FTK: Freight Tonne Kilometres measures actual freight traffic
o ATK: Available Tonne Kilometres measures available total capacity (combined passenger and cargo)
· IATA statistics cover international scheduled air traffic; domestic traffic is not included.
· All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data.
passenger traffic market shares by region in terms of RPK are: Europe
34.0%, Asia Pacific 31.8%, North America 18.8%, Middle East 8.0%, Latin
freight traffic market shares by region in terms of FTK are: Asia Pacific
46.1%, Europe 25.9%, North America 17.2%, Middle East 7.4%, Latin America