Passengers demand measured in revenue passenger kilometres rose by a healthy 6.5 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said although this represented a slowdown compared to the 2017 annual growth of eight per cent, it was another year of above-trend growth. Full year 2018 capacity climbed 6.1 per cent, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to a record 81.9 per cent, exceeding the previous high set in 2017.
December RPKs rose 5.3 per cent against the same month in 2017, the slowest year-over-year pace since January 2018 and a continuation of the trend that saw demand growth decelerate to an annualized rate of five per cent over the course of the 2018 second half compared to a nine per cent pace in the first half.
IATA director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac said: “2018 was another year of strong passenger demand, as aviation continued to support the global economy.
“We expect similar, if somewhat moderating performance in 2019. Nevertheless, slowing growth in the second half of 2018, coupled with concerns over issues including Brexit and US-China trade tensions, are creating some uncertainty to this positive outlook.”