International passenger traffic rises 5.9 percent

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FEB 6, 2015: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for the full year of 2014 showing demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 5.9 percent compared to the full year of 2013.

Capacity rose 5.6 percent last year, with the result that load factor climbed 0.2 percentage points to 79.7 percent. All regions saw demand grow in 2014. More than half of the growth in passenger travel occurred on airlines in emerging markets including Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. In recent months domestic market growth played a large role in driving growth.

 Demand for the passenger business did well in 2014. With a 5.9 percent expansion of demand, the industry out-performed the 10-year average growth rate. Carriers in the Middle East posted double-digit growth while results in Africa were barely above previous-year levels. Overall a record 3.3 billion passengers boarded aircraft last year—some 170 million more than in 2013.

International passenger traffic rose 6.1 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Capacity rose 6.4 percent and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage points to 79.2 percent.

Asia Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 5.8 percent compared to 2013, which was the largest increase among the three biggest regions. However, traffic has been broadly flat over the past four months or so amid signs of a slowdown in regional production activity, although trade volumes have remained strong. European carriers’ international traffic climbed 5.7 percent in 2014. Capacity rose 5.2 percent and load factor rose 0.6 percentage points 81.6 percent. North American airlines saw demand rise 3.1 percent in 2014 over 2013. Among developed economies, the US is the standout performer. Middle East carriers had the strongest annual traffic growth at 13 percent. The region’s economies continue to show robust growth in non-oil sectors, and are therefore well-placed to withstand the plunge in oil revenues.Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 5.8 percent. Capacity rose 4.7 percent and load factor climbed 0.8 percentage points to 80 percent.  African airlines experienced the slowest annual demand growth, up 0.9 percent compared to 2013. With capacity up 3 percent load factor fell 1.5 percentage points to 67.5 percent, the lowest among the regions. Domestic air travel rose 5.4 percent in 2014, with all markets showing growth, led by China and the Russian Federation. Capacity rose 4.3 percent and load factor was 80.6 percent, up 0.7 percentage points over 2013.

China’s domestic air travel rose 11 percent in 2014, helping to drive global air travel performance upward. The strong result occurred despite signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy and industrial activity although consumer spending remains robust. Russian domestic traffic climbed 9.8 percent last year but with the economy on the brink of recession, growth rates are expected to sharply decline in early 2015.

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