The International Air Transport Association (IATA) global passenger traffic results for May show strong demand growth compared to May 2014 for both domestic and international traffic. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.9%, an improvement on the year-over-year increase in April of 5.7%. Capacity in May increased by 6.5%, and load factor rose 0.3 percentage points to 79.3%.
IATA Director General Tony Tyler confirms that connectivity remained robust in May, but warned that the financial crisis in Greece and weakness in regional trade activity in Asia-Pacific could dampen performance in these markets in the coming months.
International Passenger Markets
May international passenger demand rose 7.1% compared to May 2014, with airlines in all regions except Africa recording growth.
North American airlines’ traffic rose 2.0% compared to May a year ago, which was an improvement on the April rise of 0.7%. Capacity climbed 4.2% and load factor fell 1.7 percentage points to 81.1%. Expectations for better economic performance in Q2 should support demand for air travel, but IATA cautions that the strengthening dollar can place downward pressure on international leisure travel to the US.
Latin American airlines experienced a 7.4% rise in traffic compared to May 2014. Capacity climbed 6.8% and load factor rose 0.4 percentage points to 80.2%. Regional trade volumes have continued to improve, which has provided a boost to business related international travel despite weakness in Argentina and Brazil.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ May traffic jumped 9.4% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 6.8% and load factor climbed 1.8 percentage points to 76.0%. The strong performance occurred despite weakness in regional trade activity during recent months.
European carriers saw demand increase by 5.9%. Growth has been robust despite Europe’s economic woes in May. Capacity climbed 4.1% and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 81.6%, highest among the regions.
Middle East carriers’ May demand soared 14.0%. Business activity in non-oil sectors point to strong growth. The result also could reflect some additional travel prior to the arrival of the month-long Ramadan period that began in June. Capacity rose 19.7% and load factor fell 3.7 percentage points to 74.6%.
African airlines’ traffic fell 3.9% in May and capacity dropped faster than demand, slipping 4.9%, with the result that load factor improved 0.7 percentage points to 64.6%.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Domestic travel demand rose 6.6% in May compared to May 2014, with the strongest growth occurring in India, up by 18.2% over May 2014, and China, up 12.7%.