The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced global traffic results for July showing slower growth in both air travel and freight, but with considerable variation by region and market.
July passenger demand in aggregate was 3.4 per cent higher than the same month last year, compared to a 6.3 per cent increase in June and average growth of 6.5 per cent over the first half of the year.
This slowdown in travel growth is being driven largely by the recent fall in business confidence in many economies.
July freight demand was 3.2 per cent lower than it was in the same month last year.
This is down on the 0.1 per cent year-on-year growth rate of June.
A large part of that decline was due to a comparison with a relatively strong July 1st year, but overall the trend in air freight is weak, in line with subdued world trade growth.
Airlines have responded to this slower growth environment by reducing the capacity added to markets, a move which has stabilised load factors at relatively high levels and provided some support for profitability in the face of high fuel prices.
In July passenger capacity rose 3.6 per cent, in line with the expansion of traffic, keeping the load factor at a relatively high 83.1 per cent.
“The uncertain economic outlook is having a negative impact on demand for air transport,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.
“The cargo business is 3.2 per cent smaller than it was a year ago.
“And passenger markets - with the exception of Africa, China-domestic and the Middle East - saw demand fall from June to July.
“Overall passenger demand is still up 3.4 per cent on the previous July.
“But the growth trend is clearly slowing.
“This, along with rising fuel prices is likely to make it a tough second half of the year.”