The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports that global passenger traffic results for April show a healthy increase in demand.
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 7.5% compared to April 2013, an improvement over March growth of 2.9%.
The year-on-year comparison is somewhat biased by the timing of the Easter holiday, which occurred in April, a month later than in 2013. April capacity increased 5.8%, propelling load factor up 1.2 percentage points to 79.4 %.
“April’s demand growth was a pleasant surprise in the face of the moderating trend of recent months, but it is not clear whether the acceleration in demand is sustainable in view of global economic trends including slower growth in China,” said IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler (pictured).
April international passenger demand was up 8.5% compared to the year-ago period with airlines in all regions recording growth and the strongest gains among Middle East carriers. Capacity rose 6.9% and load factor climbed 1.2 percentage points to 79.0%.
North American airlines experienced a 4.9% rise in traffic compared to April a year ago. Capacity rose 3.3% pushing load factor up 1.2 percentage points to 80.8%. Data suggest that underlying growth trends in business activity are positive and downward pressure on employment is easing, which should support stronger growth in air travel demand in coming months.
“In just a few days, the world air transport community will gather in Doha, Qatar for the 70th IATA annual general meeting. The strong demand for air travel recorded in April reinforces aviation’s importance as an enabler of global economic growth and job creation, while the slowdown in Japan’s demand growth illustrates the sensitivity of the sector — and the economic benefits that it provides — to taxes. All those visiting the Gulf for the AGM will have a unique opportunity to see the potential for aviation to drive development when in a business-friendly environment and with the right infrastructure,” said Tyler.