IATA reports that global passenger traffic results for June were showing what it described as “a modest deceleration in demand growth” when compared to the previous month. The industry association indicated that total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 4.7% over the same period a year ago, which was below the 6.2% year-on-year increase recorded in May 2014. June capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 5.0%, causing load factor to slip 0.2 percentage points to 81.5%.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, commented, “June traffic growth at 4.7% is encouraging even though it is a slight weakening on May’s performance. Earlier signs of a softening in demand are dissipating. While that’s good news there are many risks in the political and economic environment that need careful monitoring.”
And Tyler went on to say that, “Demand for air travel and the connectivity it provides remains strong. But uncertainty in the global political and economic climate has the potential to negatively impact demand.”
He pointed out that, “Risk is today’s reality, whether it’s conflict in the Middle East, sanctions and an impending trade war with Russia, possible default in Argentina or the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. All have the potential to dent demand. We are optimistic that the industry will still end the year with an improvement in profitability over 2013. But the regional impact of some of these risks will challenge some airlines more than others.”
And IATA’s boss said that, “One of the biggest regional challenges could be Ebola. Travellers should be reassured that airlines are coordinating closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). WHO currently advises that the risk to travellers is low and is not recommending travel restrictions or border closings. If, however, a passenger feels unwell it is always advised that they seek the advice of a doctor before travelling.”