The International Air Transport Association has announced global passenger traffic results for February showing a rebound in traffic growth following the slower demand experienced in January.
The January slowdown was owing to temporary factors, including the later timing of the Lunar New Year in 2018, the organisation said.
Total revenue passenger kilometres for February rose 7.6 per cent compared to February 2017, up from 4.6 per cent year-over-year growth in January.
Monthly capacity (measured in available seat kilometres) increased by 6.3 per cent, and load factor rose 0.9 percentage point to 80.4 per cent, surpassing the previous record for the month of 79.5 per cent, which was set in February 2017.
“As expected, we saw a return to stronger demand growth in February, after the temporary slowdown in January.
“This is being supported by the robust economic backdrop and solid business confidence.
“However, increases in fuel prices - and labour costs in some countries - likely will temper the amount of traffic stimulation from lower airfares this year,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.
Led by airlines in Latin America, all regions recorded better year-on-year growth compared to January’s results.
Total capacity climbed 5.9 per cent, and load factor rose one percentage point to 79.3 per cent.
European carriers saw February demand increase by 6.8 per cent compared to a year ago, a modest acceleration compared to a six per cent increase in January.
Passenger volumes are trending upwards at a double-digit annualised rate alongside supportive economic conditions in the region.
Capacity rose five per cent and load factor increased 1.4 percentage points to 82.2 per cent, highest among regions.