The International Air Transport Association has announced full-year global passenger traffic results for last year, showing that demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, rose by 4.2 per cent compared to 2018.
The result is a slowdown when compared to the annual growth of 7.3 per cent recorded in 2018.
It also marked the first year since the global financial crisis in 2009 with passenger demand below the long-term trend of around 5.5 per cent annual growth.
Full-year 2019 capacity climbed 3.4 per cent, and the load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to a record high of 82.6 per cent.
The previous high was 81.9 per cent set in 2018.
“Airlines did well to maintain steady growth last year in the face of a number of challenges.
“A softer economic backdrop, weak global trade activity, and political and geopolitical tensions took their toll on demand.
“Astute capacity management, and the effects of the 737 MAX grounding, contributed to another record load factor, helping the industry to manage through weaker demand and improving environmental performance,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA chief executive.
December 2019 revenue passenger kilometres increased 4.5 per cent against the same month in 2018.
That was an improvement over the 3.3 per cent annual growth recorded in November, primarily due to solid demand in North America.
However, growth is expected to be sharply hit by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent slowdown in Chinese aviation.