The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced global passenger traffic results for March 2018 showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 9.5 per cent, compared to the same month a year ago, the fastest pace in 12 months.
Capacity (available seat kilometers, or ASKs) grew 6.4 per cent and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4 per cent, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February. All regions except for the Middle East posted record load factors.
African airlines continued to enjoy very strong demand as well, with traffic up 11.2 per cent compared to March 2017, which was more than twice the 5-year average pace of 4.8 per cent.
Airlines here are seeing healthy growth on routes to/from Europe and Asia, while the region’s two largest economies—Nigeria and South Africa—continue to improve. Capacity climbed 6.7 per cent, and load factor strengthened 2.9 percentage points to 71.0 per cent.
IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs—particularly fuel prices—suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter.”
March international passenger demand rose 10.6 per cent compared to March 2017, which was up from 7.4 per cent year-over-year growth recorded in February. All regions showed strong increases. Total capacity climbed 6.6 per cent, and load factor improved 2.9 percentage points to 81.5 per cent.