ME international travel demand up 4.1pc in April

June 2, 2018

Middle East carriers posted a 4.1 per cent increase in international travel demand for April, recent data showed.

According to data released by International Air Transport Association (Iata), the seasonally-adjusted upward trend in traffic has strengthened since the start of the year, aided by healthy growth on the key routes to/from Asia and Europe, as well as continuing signs of recovery on the market segment to/from North America.

Annual comparisons are likely to become more favourable in coming months, owing to the disruptions caused by the proposed travel bans to the US and the since-lifted ban on large portable electronic devices in the year-ago period. Furthermore, capacity climbed 3.2 per cent and load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to 77.2 per cent.

Asia Pacific carriers posted the strongest traffic growth across all regions in April, with an 8.5 per cent traffic rise for the month, followed by Latin American airlines (up 6.4 per cent), African airlines (up 5.1 per cent), Middle East carriers, European carriers (up 3.4 per cent) and lastly North American Airlines (up 0.9 per cent).

Overall, international traffic demand rose 4.8 per cent compared to April 2017, with airlines in all regions recording growth. Total capacity climbed 4.9 per cent and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 81.4 per cent.

Demand for domestic travel climbed 8.5 per cent in April compared to April 2017, propelled by double-digit annual growth in India and China, Capacity increased 7.6 per cent and load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to 84.0 per cent. All markets reported demand increases, data showed.

According to the Iata global passenger traffic results for April, overall passenger demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) rose by 6.2 per cent compared to April 2017, which was down from a 12-month high of 9.7 per cent in March. Comparisons with the year ago period are impacted by developments a year ago – including the comparatively late timing of Easter in 2017, which boosted April traffic.

April capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 5.9 per cent, and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage point to 82.3 per cent, which was a record for the month of April, surpassing last year’s record of 82.1 per cent.

'Demand for air transport continues to be above the long-term trend. However, increases in airline cost inputs, most notably fuel prices, means that we are unlikely to see increased stimulation from lower fares in 2018, compared to previous years,' said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and CEO.

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