The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced global passenger traffic results for October, showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 6.3 per cent compared to the same month last year.
This marked a rebound from 5.5 per cent growth recorded in September, which was an eight-month low. Capacity also grew 6.3 per cent and load factor was flat at 81.1 per cent, matching last year's record for the month.
IATA's Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said October's healthy performance was reassuring after the slower demand growth in September--some of which were attributable to weather-related disruptions.
"However, the bigger picture is that traffic growth has moderated compared to earlier in the year, reflecting a more mixed economic backdrop and reduced demand stimulation from lower fares," de Juniac said.
In the international passenger markets, October international passenger demand rose 6.3 per cent compared to October 2017, up from 5.1 per cent growth in September. Airlines in all regions recorded gains. Total capacity climbed 6.1 per cent, and load factor increased 0.1 percentage point to 79.8 per cent.
African airlines' traffic grew 6.8 per cent year-on-year in October, raised from six per cent annual growth in September. The upward trend in passenger demand remains strong notwithstanding challenges in the economic backdrop of the continent's largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa. Capacity rose 5.5 per cent, and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 70.3 per cent.
European carriers' October demand climbed 7.5 per cent over October 2017, which was the strongest growth among regions and well up on the 5.3 per cent increase for September.
Capacity rose 7.0 per cent and load factor edged up 0.4 percentage point to 85.2 per cent, highest among regions. Given mixed signals on the economic situation for the region, it's unclear if the rebound is sustainable.
De Juniac said: "Demand for air travel is strong as we head into the holiday travel season. Trade wars and uncertainty around the political and economic impact of Brexit remain concerns but the recent easing of fuel prices is a welcome development," he said.