IATA reports that global passenger traffic results for the full year of 2014 show demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 5.9% compared to the full year of 2013. This 2014 performance was above the 10-year average growth rate of 5.6% and the 5.2% annual growth experienced in 2013 compared to 2012.
Capacity rose 5.6% last year, with the result that load factor climbed 0.2 percentage points to 79.7%. All regions saw demand grow in 2014. More than half of the growth in passenger travel occurred on airlines in emerging markets including Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. In recent months domestic market growth played a large role in driving growth. This is owed mainly to a pick-up in Chinese domestic travel which expanded by some 11% in 2014 over the previous year.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, commented: “Demand for the passenger business did well in 2014. With a 5.9% expansion of demand, the industry out-performed the 10-year average growth rate. Carriers in the Middle East posted double-digit growth while results in Africa were barely above previous-year levels. Overall a record 3.3 billion passengers boarded aircraft last year—some 170 million more than in 2013. While it is clear that people will continue to travel in growing numbers, there have been signs in recent months that softening business confidence is translating into a leveling off of international travel demand.”
Tyler noted that: “In the aftermath of the Greek elections and the intensifying debate on how to deliver a dynamic economic program for Europe, we must not forget the power of air connectivity to create growth. Governments can kick-start economic development by reducing the passenger taxes that depress demand for air transport, costing jobs and prosperity. There are some positive signs. The Scottish government is promising to cut its air passenger duty by 50%. And Austria’s air transport levy is being evaluated as part of comprehensive tax reforms. Scrapping the Austrian levy alone could create some 3,300 jobs. That should help convince politicians in these countries to move from considering reductions to delivering results.”
And IATA’s boss concluded: “High taxes, onerous regulation and infrastructure limitations make Europe a tough place to run an airline. A continent-wide commitment to address these issues so that aviation can play its critical role as an economic catalyst would be a powerful signal that Europe’s politicians really do mean business.”
Go to http://www.iata.org for more.