Air passenger traffic soars 4.6pc in Nov
Geneva, January 9, 2013
International air passenger traffic rose by 4.6 per cent in November compared to the same period last year, while air freight volumes edged up 1.6 per cent over the same period after declining 2.6 per cent in October, year to year, said a report.
Releasing the traffic results for November, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said there had been a solid improvement in both passenger and air freight demand.
"Air travel was 4.6 per cent higher compared to November 2011, up on the October result of 2.9 per cent. Air freight volumes edged up 1.6 per cent over the same period after declining 2.6 per cent in October, year to year," it noted.
Passenger capacity rose 3.2 per cent and load factor improved one percentage point to 77.3 per cent compared to the year-ago period, the report stated.
On the Middle East airlines’ performance, IATA said the demand expanded 10.5 per cent compared to November 2011, second best among the regions, continuing the exceptional growth throughout the year.
However, this was outstripped by a capacity increase of 11.2 per cent which resulted in the load factor falling 0.5 percentage points to 73.5 per cent. The month-on-month growth was seen at 0.3 per cent, the report added.
The Middle East carriers registered solid growth with regard to air cargo volumes also. They posted the strongest year-on-year growth of any region, up 16 per cent on just a 6.1 per cent rise in capacity.
The load factor surged to 46.7 per cent, up four percentage points, said the IATA in its report.
IATA’s director general and CEO Tony Tyler pointed out that November brought some positive signs for air transport demand - particularly for air cargo.
"It is premature to consider this a turning point for air cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and regaining lost ground. But, when coupled with positive economic developments in the US and an improvement in business confidence in recent months, the conditions are aligning to see a return to growth in 2013," he added.
"In 2013 we expect that cargo volumes will grow 1.4 per cent, and passenger traffic will increase by 4.5 per cent worldwide," remarked the IATA chief.
According to him, the passenger markets have held up better than cargo in the face of adverse economic conditions. "But the current level of air travel is just two per cent higher than at the start of 2012. This is considerably weaker than the long-term average growth rate,” said Tyler.
Compared to October, November passenger traffic grew 0.6 per cent. The majority of growth came from domestic markets, particularly China.
November air freight volumes increased 2.4 per cent on October. This reflects a shift in seasonal shopping to online retailers, which depend heavily on air cargo, he noted.
The US demand travel was up 1.1 per cent, but capacity expanded 2.7 per cent leading to a 1.3 percentage point drop in load factor to a still industry-leading 82.1 per cent. Demand rose just 0.6 per cent compared to October.
It also shows improved consumer confidence in the US. Seasonally-adjusted air freight volumes have now risen back to the levels of mid-2012, after declines in the third quarter, he added.
According to him, the global passenger demand grew 5.6 per cent in November compared to last year.
"However, the month-on-month increase was only 0.2 per cent, indicating that year-on-year growth was more likely owing to depressed demand a year ago. Nevertheless, emerging markets in particular continued to perform well, and capacity increased 3.1 per cent compared to a year ago," he stated.
The load factor, he said, rose 1.8 percentage points to 76.3 per cent.
Chinese demand grew 7.7 per cent, lagging strong capacity expansion of 10.3 per cent. Load factor fell 1.9 percentage points to 79.1 per cent, said the IATA report.
However, the Indian demand fell by 6.5 per cent, reflecting the slowing economy and sinking business confidence, it added.
The air freight markets rebounded strongly in November, expanding by 1.6 per cent after a 2.6 per cent year-on-year decline in October. Although some of this increase reflects the impact of the Thai floods in the year-ago period, the month-on-month increase of 2.4% is a positive sign.
According to IATA, the Asia-Pacific airlines were responsible for almost half the rise in total volumes compared to October. The 2.4 per cent rise in month-on-month volumes for the region was in contrast to a 1.5 per cent decline compared to November 2011.
"2013 is the 100th year of commercial aviation. Over that century, through an ever-expanding network, air transport has transformed the way we live, work and play, providing jobs for some 57 million people and supporting $2.2 trillion in economic activity connecting people and goods on 35,000 routes," said Tyler.
"But continued connectivity growth is not guaranteed. The industry’s expected margin in 2013 of 1.3 per cent is very weak. Furthermore current returns on investment are less than half the industry’s cost of capital, which continues to erode shareholder value," he stated.
"In the New Year, governments should resolve to bring down the barriers to connectivity growth. This can be done by addressing excessive taxation, high infrastructure costs, onerous regulation and improving the capacity and efficiency of airports and air navigation services," said Tyler.
"A strong air transport sector is in the self-interest of governments eager to support economic growth and development. Trade is the key to growth. For that connectivity is critical. And it is aviation that makes connectivity happen," he added.-TradeArabia News Service