Passenger demand surges to 18-month high

Year-on-year international passenger demand rose 9.3% in November—the fastest growth rate recorded in 18 months,  according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).This is higher than the 7.7% growth recorded in October and the 7.5% growth recorded over the first 11 months of 2007.

Average international passenger load factors were 75.4% in November, 1.1 percentage points higher than in November 2006.
Passenger demand results were strong across most regions.

Asia Pacific (8.8%), North America (7.6%) and Europe (7.6%) all saw robust growth in November with no sign yet of any weakening in demand as a result of economic uncertainty.

Latin American carriers recorded a 20.1% increase reflecting a strong recovery in traffic share following the impact of industry restructuring during 2006.

Middle East carriers continued four years of double-digit growth with an 18.3% increase.

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African carriers’ growth slowed to 5.8% largely due to weaker demand in southern Africa and strong competition in long-haul markets. 

Freight Traffic

Freight growth continues to be sluggish, reflecting strong competition with sea shipping and uncertainty over the economic outlook for 2008:
International freight demand growth slowed to 3.5% in November, down from 3.6% in October.

Over the first 11 months of 2007 freight demand grew 3.9%, well below the 4.8% recorded over the same period in 2006.

“It’s a mixed picture,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “The global economy ended 2007 on a surprisingly strong note. The November surge in passenger demand has been critical in combating high oil prices and helping airlines end 2007 with an industry profit of US$5.6 billion—the first since 2000. But against a backdrop of robust world trade, sluggish freight growth continued to be a disappointment.”

“We ring in 2008 with a warning bell. Passenger demand growth is expected to fall to 5.0%. And the expected increase in freight demand growth to 4.3% will only help us recover some of the ground lost against sea shipping. High oil prices and the impact of the credit crunch will see industry profitability slip to US$5.0 billion in 2008. Since 2001 efficiency gains have been impressive: 64% improvement in labour productivity, 25% reduction in sales and marketing unit costs and a 16% decrease in non-fuel unit costs. The challenge for 2008 will be much more of the same—efficiency everywhere,” said Bisignani.


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