IATA released its November traffic results that showed year-on-year international passenger traffic growth recovered to 6.7%, the highest growth rate recorded since May. International freight traffic growth for the same period remained sluggish at 3.1%. Year to date, passenger traffic is up by 5.8% and freight traffic by 4.8%. The average passenger load factor remained strong at 73.9% in November and is at 76.1% year-to-date.
“While year-to-date traffic growth is slower than the buoyant rates seen in 2004 and 2005, it is in line with the long term industry average growth rate and has been a key factor behind the industry’s improving bottom line,” said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA.
The Middle East remains the fastest growing region posting an increase of 18.3% in passenger traffic in November. However, for the second consecutive month the rise in capacity (20%) outstripped demand in that region. Africa recorded a 7.5% increase followed by North America (7%), Europe (6.1%), Asia Pacific (5.6%) and Latin America (-2.4%).
International freight traffic in the Middle East rose sharply (17.3%) followed by Africa (3.9%). Asia Pacific (3.2%) and European (1.4%) posted relatively low growth rates despite the improvement in underlying economic factors.
“A positive revenue environment helped the industry reduce losses to just $0.5 billion in 2006,” said Bisignani. “We expect traffic growth to slow in 2007. Airlines must continue to keep load factors high by carefully managing capacity and by finding further efficiency gains to achieve the $2.5 billion industry profit that we are projecting for 2007.”
IATA will release 2006 year-end traffic results on January 29.