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Air passenger growth slowed in August

While lower airfares sustained people’s appetite for air travel, lingering effects of other factors, such as terrorist attacks, still affected global passenger demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs), which climbed 4.6 percent in August versus the same period last year, slowing down from the 6.4 percent increase recorded in July.

At the same time, capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 5.8 percent, and load factor slipped 0.9 percentage points to 83.8 percent, according to the latest statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

International Air Transport Association (IATA) logo (MB file/2016.mb.com.ph)

International Air Transport Association (IATA) logo (MB file/2016.mb.com.ph)

“While that’s disappointing compared to the previous month’s performance, it is still healthy growth. And although terrorist attacks in Europe have dampened demand, the impact is ebbing,” according to IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

August international passenger demand rose 4.7 percent compared to August 2015. All regions recorded increases, but growth was dominated by airlines in the Middle East. Capacity climbed 6.5 percent, causing load factor to slide 1.4 percentage points to 83.9 percent.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ August traffic climbed 5.6 percent compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 6.8 percent and load factor slipped down 0.9 percentage points to 81.9 percent.

There are signs of Asian travelers continuing to be put-off by recent terrorism in Europe. Traffic on Europe-Asia routes grew just 1.5 percent in July, the most recent month for which route-specific figures are available, while international traffic growth on routes within Asia accelerated to 9.9 percent

Middle Eastern carriers posted a 10.3 percent traffic increase in August, while capacity climbed 13.7 percent, resulting in a 2.5 percentage point fall in load factor to 81.2 percent.

European carriers saw August demand climb 3.3 percent year-on-year. European traffic continues to be affected by the impact of terrorism, however, there are indications this may be easing. Capacity rose 5.1 percent, which caused load factor to drop 1.6 percentage points to 86.6 percent – which still was the highest among regions.