Air traffic growth slows in November
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced international scheduled traffic results for November showing 8.2% year-on-year passenger traffic growth and a 5.4% increase for freight. The passenger load factor for November averaged 75.6% while the freight load factor stood at 55.2% for the month.
November saw traffic growth slow from the 10% increase recorded in the passenger business and the 14.5% growth in freight in October. The slowdown in 2010 is partially skewed because of the exceptionally rapid rise in traffic volumes recorded during the fourth quarter of 2009. However, when viewed in absolute terms, air travel fell by 0.8% and air freight fell by 1.1% between October and November 2010.
This slower growth does not necessarily signal a negative trend. Even with the decline in November, passenger and freight traffic are still expanding at annualized rates of between 5-6% which is in line with the industry’s historical growth trend.
“The industry is shifting gears in the recovery cycle. Growth is slowing towards normal historical levels in the 5-6% range. Relative weakness in developed markets is being offset by the momentum of economic expansion in developing markets. We see a strong end to 2010 that boosted the year’s profit forecast to $15.1 billion. Slowing traffic growth is in line with our projections for a reduced profit of $9.1 billion in 2011. That’s a 1.5% margin. More hard work will be needed in the New Year to achieve sustainable levels of profitability,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
International Passenger Demand
* The level of international air travel is now 4% above the pre-recession peak of early 2008. All regions, except Africa, reported a slowing in year-on-year growth rates from October to November.
* Europe’s carriers recorded 7.3% growth in passenger traffic, below the 9.4% recorded in October. Overall travel performed by the region’s carriers is only slightly ahead of the pre-recession levels of early 2008. In absolute terms there was a 1.7% fall in traffic volumes for the region’s carriers between October and November. Industrial labor action and adverse weather conditions particularly affected Europe’s carriers at the very end of the month. The impact of these will continue to be seen in December’s traffic.
* North American carriers saw their growth slow from 12.4% in October to 9.5% in November. Capacity growth in November was 9.5%, resulting in a load factor of 78.1%, the highest among the regions. November passenger traffic levels for North American carriers equaled the pre-recession levels of early 2008.
* Asia-Pacific carriers saw their growth slow from 7.3% in October to 5.8% in November. Capacity expanded relatively in tandem (5.9%) for a load factor of 75.6%. Despite the region’s strong economic growth and financial performance, November traffic levels were still 2% below pre-recession levels.
* Latin American carriers showed the most dramatic decline in growth rates