Mideast airlines see 4.5% rise in passenger demand
07 Sep 2017 - 1:09
By Mohammad Shoeb / The Peninsula
The Middle Eastern airlines, which include three fast growing major Gulf carriers, registered a 4.5 percent increase in passenger demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers, in July 2017. This was an acceleration from the 3.6 percent annual growth seen in June.
However, despite the surge in demand the number was still well below the 5-year average pace of 11.2 percent, latest data released by International Air Transport Association (IATA) show.
The Middle East to North America market has been affected by a combination of factors in 2017, including the recently-lifted cabin ban on large portable electronic devices, including laptops, as well as a wider impact from the proposed travel bans to the US.
According to IATA, which represents some 275 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic, traffic growth on the Middle East-US route was already slowing in early 2017, in line with a moderation in the pace of expansion of nonstop services flown by the largest Middle Eastern airlines. July capacity climbed 3.6 percent compared to a year ago and load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 81.5 percent.
The global passenger traffic results for July is showing strong but moderating demand growth. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.8 percent, compared to the same month last year, down from 7.7 percent year-over-year growth recorded in June.
“As is evidenced by the record high load factor in July, the appetite for air travel remains very strong. However, the stimulus effect of lower fares is softening in the face of rising cost inputs. This suggests a moderating in the supportive demand backdrop,” said Alexandre de Juniac (pictured), IATA’s Director General and CEO. All regions reported solid or better growth in passenger volumes over the past year. Capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.1 percent, and load factor rose 0.6 percentage points to a July record of 84.7 percent. July international passenger demand rose 6.2 percent compared to July 2016, which was a slow-down compared to the 7.6 percent growth recorded in June. Total capacity climbed 5.5 percent, and load factor edged up 0.5 percentage points to 84.6 percent.
Latin American airlines recorded the strongest growth among regions, posting a 10.5 percent demand rise compared to July 2016. Capacity increased almost as fast, up 10 percent, and load factor climbed 0.4 percentage points to 84.9 percent.
With regard to air freight demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), Middle Eastern carriers’ year-on-year freight volumes increased 9.3 percent in July 2017 and capacity decreased 0.4 percent. Seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes have maintained their solid upward trend.
The global air freight markets showing that demand increased by 11.4 percent in July 2017 compared to the same period a year ago. This was the fourth time in five months that double-digit annual growth was recorded. July’s year-on-year increase in demand is nearly four times higher than the ten year average growth rate of 3.1 percent.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 3.7 percent year-on-year in July 2017.