IATA reports that full-year traffic results for 2013 showing a 5.2% increase in passenger demand compared to 2012.
The 2013 performance aligns with the average annual growth rate of the past 30 years. Capacity rose 4.8% and load factor averaged 79.5% up 0.4 percentage points over 2012.
Demand in international markets (5.4%) expanded at a slightly faster rate than domestic travel (4.9%).
Strongest overall growth (domestic and international combined) was recorded by carriers in the Middle East (11.4%) followed by Asia-Pacific (7.1%), Latin America (6.3%) and Africa (5.2%). The slowest growth was in the developed markets of North America (2.3%) and Europe (3.8%).
Tony Tyler (pictured), IATA’s director general and CEO, observed, “We saw healthy demand growth in 2013 despite the very difficult economic environment. There was a clear improvement trend over the course of the year which bodes well for 2014. Last year’s demand performance demonstrates the essential and growing role that aviation-enabled connectivity plays in our world. And with system-wide load factors at 79.5% it is also clear that airlines are continuing to drive efficiencies to an ever-higher level.”
2014 marks the first century of commercial aviation.
On Jan. 1, 1914, Percival Fansler launched the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line and inaugurated the era of commercial aviation, saying, “What was impossible yesterday is an accomplishment of today, while tomorrow heralds the unbelievable.”
As IATA’s Tyler sees it. “Fansler was right. The first century of commercial aviation has changed the world. It has made it a better place through connectivity. Forward-looking governments recognize the power of aviation to drive economic growth and spread prosperity. These governments are laying the foundations for our next century and in doing so will reap enormous benefits. But not all governments are on the same page. This anniversary year is an opportunity to remind short-sighted governments that they risk being left behind if they cripple aviation with taxes, over-burden it with onerous regulation, or fail to provide the infrastructure that it needs to grow.”