The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports global passenger traffic data for April shows that demand (revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose by 6.2% compared to April 2017, which was down from a 12-month high of 9.7% 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%, and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage point to 82.3%, which was a record for the month of April, surpassing last year’s record of 82.1%.
“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 IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac.
April international passenger demand rose 4.8% compared to April 2017. All regions recorded year-over-year traffic increases, but all were behind the pace of growth reported in March. Total capacity climbed 4.9%, and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 81.4%.
North American airlines posted a 0.9% demand increase compared to April a year ago, which was sharply down compared to the 9.5% growth experienced in March. Comparisons to the year-ago period are distorted by the huge pick-up in traffic in April 2017. A bounce back is expected in May, supported by the relatively strong economic backdrop in the US. Capacity climbed 2.4%, and load factor fell 1.2 percentage points to 80.7%.