IATA unveils positive traffic figures

The International Air Transport Association January traffic results show that international passenger traffic for the month grew by 6.2% over the same month in 2005.International
freight traffic, bolstered by renewed strength in the global economy,
continued its recent recovery with 5.3% growth for January. Passenger
growth was slightly below the full-year growth rate of 7.6% recorded for
2005, while freight was well above its full-year traffic growth of 3.2%.

“The industry is on track with 2006 growth expectations of 5-6% for both
freight and passenger traffic,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director
General and CEO.

“The story for January was freight which is starting to show a definite
strengthening trend following the disappointing 3.2% growth of 2005.
This is the first time in a year we have seen two consecutive months of
freight traffic growth above 5% which points to a resurgent world
economy,” said Bisignani. January’s 5.3% freight growth followed 5.5%
growth in December 2005. Middle Eastern carriers showed the strongest
freight growth for January at 9.4%. Asia-Pacific led the recovery in
freight growth at 8.3%—up from 4.2% full year growth for 2005 boosted
by strong growth in Chinese trade and a recovering Japanese economy. 

For passenger traffic, the Middle East led all regions with an 18.3%
jump in traffic. The region has posted double-digit growth in 29 of the
past 31 months. Higher traffic levels have also translated into higher
load factors. January’s passenger load factor was 74.6% up 1.1% from
January 2005.

“We are filling the planes-and with high load factors-but there is a lot
to do before the industry’s balance sheet recovers. The industry faces
several risks. The rising price of oil continues to kill our
profitability. The airlines are managing capacity as carefully as they
are managing costs. As the record aircraft orders of last year are
delivered, matching capacity to demand will become even more critical.
And Avian Flu is the wild card for 2006,” said Bisignani.


“Turning growth into profitability remains the challenge. Airlines are
attacking costs on all fronts. Non-fuel unit costs dropped by 13% over
the past four years. We expect the same efficiency from our monopoly
partners-airports and air navigation service providers. Governments must
grant us commercial freedoms and bring some common-sense to taxation.
We can ill-afford the absurd taxes on aviation that have recently been
imposed in France and proposed in Sweden.”