IATA reports moderate slowdown in passenger demand growth

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for October 2019, showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) climbed 3.4% compared to the year-ago period. This was a modest slowdown from 3.9% growth recorded in September, owing to softer traffic performance in domestic markets. October capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 2.2% and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 82.0%, which was a record for October.

October international passenger demand rose 3.2% compared to October 2018, unchanged from September’s year-over-year performance. With the exception of Latin America, all regions recorded increases, led by Middle East airlines for the first time since June 2018. Capacity climbed 1.6%, and load factor rose 1.3 percentage points to 81.0%.

Demand for domestic travel climbed 3.6% in October compared to October 2018, down from 5.1% annual growth recorded in September owing to softer performance in the US and China, the largest domestic markets. Capacity rose 3.4% and load factor increased 0.2 percentage point to 83.9%.

Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic rose 5.3% in October, well down on 8.0% growth recorded in September and the third consecutive month of slowing growth. Modest easing in consumer spending combined with tougher year-ago comparisons contributed to the result.

Indian airlines saw their domestic traffic rise 3.6%, up from 1.9% in September, supported by the start of the main tourist season. Growth remains well below 2018 levels, however, reflecting the general economic slowdown and the impact of the collapse of Jet Airways.

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