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Moderate Slowdown in Passenger Demand Growth

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Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for October 2019 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) climbed 3.4% compared to the year-ago period. This was a modest slowdown from 3.9% growth recorded in September, owing to softer traffic performance in domestic markets. October capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 2.2% and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 82.0%, which was a record for October.

“Traffic growth continues to be depressed compared to historical long-term growth levels, reflecting continued moderating economic activity in some key markets and sagging business confidence. However, the fact that traffic is growing is a positive, and the industry continues to do an excellent job of maximizing asset efficiency, as shown in the record load factor,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

  • Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic rose 5.3% in October, well down on 8.0% growth recorded in September and the third consecutive month of slowing growth. Modest easing in consumer spending combined with tougher year-ago comparisons contributed to the result.
  • Indian airlines saw their domestic traffic rise 3.6%, up from 1.9% in September, supported by the start of the main tourist season. Growth remains well below 2018 levels, however, reflecting the general economic slowdown and the impact of the collapse of Jet Airways.

The Bottom Line

“The airline industry has faced strong headwinds in 2019 but continues to enable the global connectivity that supports world trade and greater understanding among peoples and cultures, things we can definitely use more of, particularly in this time of trade wars and geopolitical tension. Next week, IATA will hold our annual Global Media Days, bringing together journalists and bloggers from around the world. We will present our updated economic forecast, and an in-depth look at our environmental activities among other subjects. I look forward to this opportunity to discuss and debate the key issues and initiatives facing commercial aviation with our colleagues in the media,” said de Juniac.

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