Air Travel Rebounded in May
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association
(IATA) announced international scheduled traffic statistics for May which
showed an 11.7% increase in passenger traffic and a 34.3% jump in freight
demand compared to May 2009.
“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% bigger,” said
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
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% (78.7% when adjusted for seasonality).
This is the sixth consecutive month with seasonally adjusted load factors
near 79%. Matching capacity to demand will become increasingly
challenging in the coming months. Aircraft utilization remains 5% below
pre-recession levels for single-aisle aircraft and 8% for longer-range
twin-aisle aircraft. The 100 aircraft taken out of storage during May and
93 the new aircraft delivered globally add further capacity pressure.
Similarly, the strong surge in cargo traffic outstripped a
capacity increase of 12.3%, pushing load factors to a record high of
55.7% (56.3% when adjusted for seasonality).
International Scheduled Passenger Demand
airlines recorded an 8.3% growth 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
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
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.
American carriers recorded the fastest growth in
demand at 23.6% in May, supported by the region’s strong economic
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.
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%.
International Scheduled Freight Demand
- Air freight
growth surged in May to 34.3% (significantly up from the 26.0%
recorded in April).
American and African carriers recorded the fastest
increases at 60.2% and 58.2% respectively.
airlines, which represent the largest market share (45%)
grew by 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.
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.
Strong traffic growth is contributing to a strengthening
industry bottom line. Airlines are expected to post a $2.5 billion profit
in 2010 in a dramatic turnaround from the $9.9 billion lost in 2009.
“This is good news, but it is only a 0.5% margin. We are still a long way
from sustainable profitability,” said Bisignani.
“In the short-term, airlines need to focus our 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.
“Two months ago, the Icelandic volcano made it clear that
aviation is vital to the global economy. When the volcano went to sleep,
politicians developed amnesia to the lessons-learned. Germany proposed a
EUR 1 billion departure tax that will dampen demand instead of
stimulating growth. The new UK government is talking about a future
without domestic aviation and no capacity growth, without any analysis of
the devastation that this would bring to the UK’s economy. And the much
anticipated accelerated progress on the EUR 5 billion savings of the
Single European Sky has been truncated at incremental change. The
traveling public and Europe’s struggling economy deserves much better
than this short-sighted policy myopia,” said Bisignani.
At its recent Annual General Meeting, IATA announced
Vision 2050. This is an initiative to build a common vision among
industry stakeholders for a sustainable future for air transport.
Announcing the vision, Bisignani pointed to four cornerstones of change:
a new and sustainable energy source, a regulatory regime that allows
airlines to operate as normal businesses, cost-efficient infrastructure
that meets the needs of users, and services that exceed customer
full May traffic results
- IATA -
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Notes for Editors:
(International Air Transport Association) represents some 230
airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.
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of measurement terms:
Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic
Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity
Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used. In comparison of 2009 to
2008, PLF indicates point differential between the periods compared
Freight Tonne Kilometers measures actual freight traffic
Available Freight Tonne Kilometers measures available total freight
Freight Load Factor is % of AFTKs used
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. Historic figures may be
passenger traffic market shares by region in terms of RPK are:
Europe 40.5%, Asia-Pacific 26.1%, North America 15.7%, Middle East
10.5%, Latin America 4.0%, Africa 3.2%
freight traffic market shares by region in terms of FTK are:
Asia-Pacific 44.6%, Europe 25.1%, North America 16.0%, Middle East
10.1%, Latin America 2.9%, Africa 1.3%