Air passenger traffic demand jumped 9.5 percent in March from a year ago, helped by the strength of global economic conditions, IATA said in its monthly report.
The International Air Transport Association said March’s demand growth was the fastest in 12 months, while available seat km capacity grew at a more modest 6.4 percent over last year’s period. Passenger load factor rose 2.3 percentage points to 82.4 percent as a result.
“Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels,” IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said. But he raised a note of caution that “rising cost inputs, particularly fuel prices, suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter.”
All regions grew strongly in March, with Asia Pacific on 12.0 percent, and the Middle East with a 10.6 percent increase in RPK demand growth, showing particular strength. Europe wasn’t far behind with a 9.5 percent increase on last year, but North America on 6.3 percent only narrowly beat Africa’s 6.1 percent growth in demand.
All regions pushed capacity higher, with Asia Pacific again leading the pack with a 9.1 percent increase in ASKs. Europe added 6.1 percent more capacity, and North America 4.1 percent.
“The strong first quarter provides healthy momentum heading into the peak travel period in the Northern Hemisphere. Benign economic conditions are supporting, and being supported by, good demand for air travel,” de Juniac said.