Passenger demand grew in March at its fastest pace in 12 months with revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) rising year-on-year (YOY) by 9.5 per cent, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Capacity (available seat kilometres, or ASKs) grew 6.4 per cent and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4 per cent, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February. All regions except for the Middle East posted record load factors.
Africa’s RPK was up 6.1 per cent, Asia Pacific 12 per cent, Europe 9.5 per cent, Latin America 8.5 per cent, the Middle East 10.6 per cent and North America 6.3 per cent.
IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac said: “Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs – particularly fuel prices – suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter.”
March international passenger demand rose 10.6 per ent compared to March 2017, which was up from 7.4% year-over-year growth recorded in February.
Domestic demand rose 7.8 per cent in March, which was a slight deceleration from 8.2% growth recorded in February, driven primarily by developments in the US market.
“The strong first quarter provides healthy momentum heading into the peak travel period in the Northern Hemisphere. Benign economic conditions are supporting—and being supported by – good demand for air travel,” de Juniac said.
He added: “It’s a mutually-beneficial effect that smart governments recognise and encourage, by embracing affordable, quality aviation infrastructure and reasonable commercial regulation. But we need to deliver that message every day.
“The setback to modernising air traffic management in the US, and a proposal to stop construction of the new airport in Mexico, are reminders of that fact.”