Transport Association (IATA) has announced global passenger traffic results for 2018 showing that global demand (revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose by a healthy 6.5% compared to full-year 2017.
Although this represented a slowdown compared to the 2017 annual growth of 8.0%, it was another year of above-trend growth. Full year 2018 capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to a record 81.9%, exceeding the previous high level set in 2017.
December RPKs rose 5.3% against the same month in 2017, the slowest year-over-year pace since January 2018 and a continuation of the trend that saw demand growth decelerate to an annualised rate of 5% over the course of the 2018 second half compared to a 9% pace in the first half.
Middle East carriers’ traffic increased by 4.2% last year, down from 6.9% growth in 2017. It was the second year in a row of moderating demand growth. Capacity climbed 5.2% and load factor slipped 0.7 percentage point to 74.7%. The deceleration in growth reflects the impact of policy measures and geopolitical tensions, including travel restrictions and the temporary ban on large portable electronic devices.
“2018 was another year of strong passenger demand, as aviation continued to support the global economy. We expect similar, if somewhat moderating performance in 2019. Nevertheless, slowing growth in the second half of 2018, coupled with concerns over issues including Brexit and US-China trade tensions, are creating some uncertainty to this positive outlook,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
This article was first published in Arabian Aerospace.