The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports global passenger traffic results for January showing a strong increase in demand.
Total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 8% compared to January 2013, an improvement over the December 2013 growth of 6.8% and the full year 2013 growth of 5.2%. January capacity increased 6.7%, pushing load factor up 0.9 percentage points to 78.1%.
“2014 is off to a strong start, with travel demand accelerating over the healthy results achieved in 2013, in line with stronger growth in advanced economies and emerging market regions,” said IATA director general Tony Tyler.
January international passenger demand was up 7.8% compared to the year-ago period with airlines in all regions recording growth and the strongest gains in the Middle East. Capacity rose 6.8% and load factor climbed 0.7 percentage points to 78.3%.
North American airlines experienced a 3.5% rise in traffic compared to January a year ago, in line with recent performance. Rising consumer spending and employment growth are expected to support continued demand growth in the coming months. Capacity rose 2.5% pushing load factor up 0.8 percentage points to 80.4%, third highest among regions.
“The second century of commercial aviation has begun on a positive note, with air traffic demand rising in line with generally positive economic indicators. While this is in line with an improved overall outlook for 2014, aviation remains highly vulnerable to external shocks. Rising geopolitical tensions around the world have the potential to cast shadows on this optimistic outlook,” added Tyler.