Early-year momentum continues as travel demand grows 'at robust rate'

IATA has reported further strong passenger traffic growth during February.

Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 4.8% in February, compared to the same month last year. Although this was below the growth achieved in January, year-to-year comparisons are distorted because February 2016 was a leap month.

Adjusting for the one fewer day this year, the growth rate was estimated at 8.6%, just under January’s increase of 8.9%.

We have not seen the attempted US ban on travel from six countries translate into an identifiable traffic trend

Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 2.7%, and load factor rose 1.6 percentage points to 79.5%, which was the highest ever recorded for February.

IATA estimates that, allowing for inflation, the price of air travel has fallen by more than 10% in real terms over the past year, accounting for more than half the growth in RPKs in early 2017.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said: “The strong demand momentum from January has continued, supported by lower fares and a healthier economic backdrop.

“Although we remain concerned over the impact of any travel restrictions or closing of borders, we have not seen the attempted US ban on travel from six countries translate into an identifiable traffic trend. Overall travel demand continues to grow at a robust rate.”

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