Driven by “robust” demand from Asian and European markets, Middle Eastern airlines posted a strong performance of 7.4% traffic increase in November 2019, up from a 5.6% rise in October last year, the International Air Transport Association has said in a report.
Capacity was flat, and load factor soared 5 percentage points to 73.2%. The strong performance was driven by robust demand on to/from Asia and Europe markets, IATA said Thursday.
November international passenger demand rose 3.1%, compared to November 2018, which was a marginal increase from the 3% year-over-year growth achieved in October.
All regions recorded traffic increases, except for Latin America, IATA noted. Capacity climbed 0.7%, and load factor increased 1.8 percentage points to 80.1%.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw November traffic increase 3.9% compared to the 2018 period, a slight decline compared to the 4.2% annual growth recorded in October. Capacity rose 2.8% and load factor rose 0.8 percentage point to 79.9%.
While seasonally-adjusted volumes are increasing, the trend has moderated. Disruptions in Hong Kong, slowing demand in India and China and less supportive business confidence in several key economies are among the contributing factors, IATA noted.
African airlines’ traffic climbed 4.9% in November, up from 2.3% growth recorded in October. Challenges in the South Africa market have been more than offset by strong performance elsewhere in the region. Capacity rose 2.8%, and load factor climbed 1.4 percentage points to 70.3%.
IATA data for November 2019 showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 3.3% compared to the same month in 2018. This was unchanged from October’s result and below the long-term trend.
Capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 1.8%, and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 81.1%, which was a record for any November. All regions saw annual increases in traffic.
IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, “November’s moderate result reflects the continuing influence of slower economic activity, geopolitical tensions and other disruptions, including strikes in Europe.
“On the plus side, positive developments in the US-China trade talks, in tandem with signs of improving business confidence, could support an uptick in travel demand. In the meantime, continued modest capacity growth is helping to maximise asset efficiency.”
Demand for domestic travel climbed 3.5% in November compared to November 2018, which was a marginal decline from 3.7% annual growth recorded in October. Capacity rose 3.8% and load factor slipped 0.2 percentage point to 82.8%.
Indian airlines experienced a return to double-digit growth for the first time since January 2019, as traffic rose 11.3% compared to November 2018.
However, economic growth in the third quarter was the weakest in around six years amid a broad-based slowdown that is affecting many sectors of the economy. This will present a more challenging environment for the industry going forward.
Japan’s airlines saw domestic traffic climb 3.7% in November, more than double the 1.8% increase recorded in October. While growth has been volatile over the past six months or so, the bigger picture is that seasonally-adjusted volumes are trending modestly upward, IATA noted.