Global passenger traffic demand rose 7.7 percent in May as most regions reported record highs for the month.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported in its monthly update that the May figure, while ahead of the five and ten year average growth rates, was down from April’s 10.9 percent boost.
Regionally, Asia Pacific returned the highest growth rate, on an 11.8 percent increase in revenue passenger km (RPK) terms, with Africa second on 10.4 percent, but from a low base. Europe on a 7.7 percent rise, just beat Latin America’s 7.3 percent increase, while North America on 3.9 percent, and the Middle East on 3.8 percent showed the lowest growth.
In available seat km (ASK) terms, Asia Pacific added the most capacity during the month, with an 8.6 percent increase. Middle East carriers added 5.9 percent capacity, and Europe 5.6 percent. North America put on 3.6 percent capacity during May.
The increased traffic, matched with more restrained capacity growth meant higher load factors in all regions except the Middle East, which contracted by 1.4 percentage points to 70 percent.
Africa boosted its load factor by 3.6 percentage points to 68.2 percent, while in the larger markets, Asia Pacific added 2.2 percentage points to 79.6 percent, Europe 1.6 percentage points to 82.2 percent, and North America 0.2 of a percentage point to 84 percent.
“Passenger demand is solid. And we don’t foresee any weakening over the busy summer months in the Northern Hemisphere,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General said. “But the rising price of fuel and other input costs is likely to see airlines’ ability to stimulate markets with lower fares taper over the coming months.”
De Juniac said that rising trade protectionism and barriers to travel are worrying trends that could affect demand if left unchecked.
“As a business airlines depend on borders that are open to trade and people.”