Judicious aircraft utilization also leads to record load factors
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger traffic results for April 2019 showing that Middle East carriers’ demand ( in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rise 2.9% in April, which was a recovery from a 3.0% decline of traffic in March.
Notwithstanding the monthly turnaround, in seasonally-adjusted terms the downward trend in traffic growth continues, reflecting broader structural changes affecting industry in the region.
Capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell 1.6% and load factor soared 3.5 percentage points to 80.5%.
Globally, demand rose by 4.3% compared to April 2018. April capacity increased by 3.6%, and load factor climbed 0.6 percentage point to 82.8%, which was a record for the month of April, surpassing last year’s record of 82.2%.
Regionally, Africa, Europe and Latin America posted record load factors.
Global comparisons between the two months are distorted owing to the timing of the Easter holiday, which occurred on 1 April in 2018 but fell much later in the month in 2019.
Said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO: “We experienced solid but not exceptional rising demand for air connectivity in April. This partly is owing to the timing of Easter, but also reflects the slowing global economy.
“Driven by tariffs and trade disputes, global trade is falling, and as a result, we are not seeing traffic growing at the same levels as a year ago. However, airlines are doing a very good job of managing aircraft utilization, leading to record load factors.”