January 2018 Passenger Traffic Records Slowest Growth Y-O-Y

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KUALA LUMPUR – Global passenger traffic for January 2018 recorded the slowest growth year-on-year (y-o-y) compared to the last four years, said International Air Transport Association (IATA).  

It said though revenue passenger kilometres grew by 4.6 per cent compared to January 2017, the month’s performance was affected by factors, including the later timing of the Lunar New Year and the less favourable comparisons with the strong upward trend in traffic seen in late 2016-early 2017.

IATA’s Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, said despite the slower start, the economic momentum was supporting the rising passenger demand in 2018.

“That said, concerns over a possible trade war involving the US could have a serious dampening effect on global market confidence, spilling over into demand for air travel,” he said.

IATA estimated that the impact of the later Lunar New Year-related travel period represented about two-fifths of the slowdown in y-o-y growth for the month.

In January, the available seat kilometres rose by 5.3 per cent, and load factor slipped by half a percentage point to 79.6 per cent.

Growth in international passenger demand slowed to 4.4 per cent from 6.1 per cent in December 2017, with all regions recording growth, led by Latin America and Europe, while capacity rose by 5.3 per cent and load factor dipping by 0.7 percentage point to 79.6 per cent.

“Asia Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 4.6 per cent compared to January 2017 - a 46-month low, largely owing to the impact of the later Lunar New Year which fell in mid-February this year.

“Its capacity rose by 6.1 per cent, and load factor dropped 1.2 percentage points to 80.4 per cent,” it added.

Meanwhile, the domestic passenger market climbed by 5.1 per cent y-o-y, down from the the seven per cent growth recorded in December 2017, while capacity increased by 5.3 per cent and load factor fell by 0.2 percentage point to 79.8 per cent.