IATA Director General and CEO welcomes “healthy performance” after September low.

Passenger demand

Passenger numbers bounced back in October, as IATA’s latest global passenger traffic results show.

Demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs, rose 6.3% compared to the same month last year. This marked a rebound from 5.5% growth recorded in September, which was an eight-month low. Capacity also grew 6.3% and load factor was flat at 81.1%, matching last year’s record for the month.

“October’s healthy performance is reassuring after the slower demand growth in September—some of which was attributable to weather-related disruptions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“However, the bigger picture is that traffic growth has moderated compared to earlier in the year, reflecting a more mixed economic backdrop and reduced demand stimulation from lower fares.”

October’s healthy performance is reassuring after slower growth in September—some of which was attributable to weather-related disruptions

October international passenger demand rose 6.3% compared to October 2017, up from 5.1% growth in September, with airlines in all regions recording gains. Total capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor increased 0.1 percentage point to 79.8%.

Demand at domestic level climbed 6.4% in October compared to October 2017, unchanged from September, while capacity rose 6.7%. Load factor slipped 0.2 percentage point to 83.3%. China, India and Russia led all markets with double-digit growth rates.

Breakdown, by region:

  • European carriers’ October demand climbed 7.5% over October 2017, which was the strongest growth among regions and well up on the 5.3% increase for September. Capacity rose 7.0% and load factor edged up 0.4 percentage point to 85.2%, highest among regions. 
  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 5.8% compared to the year-ago period, up from 5.4% year-over-year growth in September. Capacity climbed 5.4% and load factor rose 0.3 percentage points to 78.9%. 
  • Middle East carriers experienced a 4.4% rise in demand in October compared to last year, slowest among the regions for the seventh time in 12 months. It was, however, an increase over the 3.3% increase in September. Capacity increased 6.4%, and load factor slid 1.3 percentage points to 69.8%, lowest among regions. 
  • North American airlines’ traffic climbed 5.6% in October compared to the year-ago period, up from 4.9% growth in September. Capacity rose 3.7% and load factor surged 1.4 percentage points to 80.4%. 
  • Latin American airlines were the only carriers to experience a slowdown in growth as demand rose 5.9% versus 6.3% in September. Capacity climbed 9.1%, and load factor dropped 2.4 percentage points to 80.4%. 
  • African airlines’ traffic grew 6.8% year-on-year in October, raised from 6% annual growth in September. Capacity rose 5.5%, and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 70.3%.
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