By Andy Sambidge
IATA says region's carriers post strongest growth in Sept; passenger demand up by 13.3%
Middle East carriers saw by far the strongest passenger traffic growth in September, with demand up 13.3 percent year-on-year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.
This was down compared to the 17 percent growth recorded in August but the growth comparison for August was inflated by seasonal impacts, with Ramadan dampening traffic growth during August 2011.
September capacity rose 11.3 percent and the load factor strengthened to 78.7 percent, IATA said in a statement.
Middle East airlines also saw a 16.3 percent rise in cargo traffic on a 6.9 percent rise in capacity in September, pushing up the load factor 3.8 percent points to 46.1 percent.
Globally, IATA said September showed a continued slowdown in the rate of traffic growth. Demand for passenger traffic was 4.1 percent above the level of September 2011. For air cargo, demand growth was even weaker at 0.6 percent.
IATA said the growth trend in air travel started to flatten in the second quarter, with no growth in the passenger market between April and August.
The year-on-year comparisons are now also starting to show slower rates of growth. In September, passenger travel increased 4.1 percent on a year ago, down on the 5.3 percent year-on-year growth rate in August and well below the 6 percent average growth rate seen throughout the first half of the year.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said carriers in China, Latin America and the Middle East were growing strongly while Europe’s airlines were experiencing profitless growth in a strategy to manage high fixed costs and taxes.
“Putting regional diversity aside, the fact that airlines are making any money at all with weak markets and high fuel prices is a tribute to their strong business performance, as evidenced by maintaining global load factors close to 80 percent since the start of 2012. Even with that, airlines are expected to eke out a global net profit margin of only 0.6%. It’s a tough year,” said Tyler.