Global air passenger traffic up 6.4 pct in August

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced Monday that global air passenger traffic in August had surged 6.4 percent year-on-year.

The IATA noted that the demand increase in August was slightly above July's figure.

"August capacity increased by 5.5 percent, and the load factor climbed 0.7 percentage point to 85.3 percent, which was the highest for any month since at least 1990," the association said.

In a written statement, IATA's CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the aviation industry experienced continued strong traffic growth in August — putting the cap on a very good peak travel season.

"The all-time record load factor reflects that airlines are maximizing the efficiency of their assets at a time of rising fuel prices and other costs that are limiting the opportunities for low fare stimulation," he added.

On the international markets, all regions — led by airlines in the Asia-Pacific region — recorded increases, while international passenger demand saw an annual hike of 5.6 percent in August.

"Asia-Pacific airlines' August traffic increased 7.5 percent compared to the year-ago period, which was an acceleration compared to a 7.2-percent rise in July," the IATA said.

Pointing to the 6.1-percent hike in capacity and the 82.6-percent load factor, the association said the upward trend in passenger traffic was backed by structural changes, ongoing rises in living standards in the region, and more route options for passengers.

The IATA noted that European demand is being affected by mixed signs on the economy as well as possible disruptions from air traffic control strikes, while the European carriers saw a 5.1-percent climb in August demand.

"Middle Eastern carriers posted a 5.4 percent traffic increase in August, which was a slowdown from 6.2 percent in July," it said. "Capacity increased 6.3 percent, with load factor slipping 0.7 percentage point to 80.7 percent."

North American airlines' international demand rose 3.7 percent in August, while the annual increases for Latin American and African airlines were 4.8 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

Last year, the number of air passengers worldwide climbed over 4 billion for the first time, according to the IATA which represents around 290 airlines around the world — accounting for over 80 percent of the global air traffic.