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Press Release No.: 1

Date: 4 January 2008

Passenger Demand Surges to 18-month High

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released traffic results for November 2007. The highlights are:

Passenger Traffic
  • Year-on-year international passenger demand rose 9.3% in November - the fastest growth rate recorded in 18 months. This is higher than the 7.7% growth recorded in October and the 7.5% growth recorded over the first 11 months of 2007.
  • Average international passenger load factors were 75.4% in November, 1.1 percentage points higher than in November 2006.
  • Passenger demand results were strong across most regions.
    • Asia Pacific (8.8%), North America (7.6%) and Europe (7.6%) all saw robust growth in November with no sign yet of any weakening in demand as a result of economic uncertainty.
    • Latin American carriers recorded a 20.1% increase reflecting a strong recovery in traffic share following the impact of industry restructuring during 2006.
    • Middle East carriers continued four years of double-digit growth with an 18.3% increase.
    • African carriers’ growth slowed to 5.8% largely due to weaker demand in southern Africa and strong competition in long-haul markets.  
Freight Traffic
  • Freight growth continues to be sluggish, reflecting strong competition with sea shipping and uncertainty over the economic outlook for 2008:
    • International freight demand growth slowed to 3.5% in November, down from 3.6% in October.
    • Over the first 11 months of 2007 freight demand grew 3.9%, well below the 4.8% recorded over the same period in 2006.

“It’s a mixed picture,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “The global economy ended 2007 on a surprisingly strong note. The November surge in passenger demand has been critical in combating high oil prices and helping airlines end 2007 with an industry profit of US$5.6 billion - the first since 2000. But against a backdrop of robust world trade, sluggish freight growth continued to be a disappointment.”

“We ring in 2008 with a warning bell. Passenger demand growth is expected to fall to 5.0%. And the expected increase in freight demand growth to 4.3% will only help us recover some of the ground lost against sea shipping. High oil prices and the impact of the credit crunch will see industry profitability slip to US$5.0 billion in 2008. Since 2001 efficiency gains have been impressive: 64% improvement in labour productivity, 25% reduction in sales and marketing unit costs and a 16% decrease in non-fuel unit costs. The challenge for 2008 will be much more of the same - efficiency everywhere,” said Bisignani.

Full November traffic results (pdf)

Notes for Editors:
  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 94% of scheduled international air traffic.
  • Explanation of measurement terms:
    • RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometres measures actual passenger traffic
    • ASK: Available Seat Kilometres measures available passenger capacity
    • PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used. In comparison of 2007 to 2006, PLF indicates point differential between the periods compared
    • FTK: Freight Tonne Kilometres measures actual freight traffic
    • ATK: Available Tonne Kilometres measures available total capacity (combined passenger and cargo)
  • IATA statistics cover international scheduled air traffic; domestic traffic is not included.
  • All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data.
  • International passenger traffic market shares by region in terms of RPK are: Europe 34.0%, Asia Pacific 31.8%, North America 18.8%, Middle East 8.0%, Latin America 3.7%, Africa 3.1%
  • International freight traffic market shares by region in terms of FTK are: Asia Pacific 46.1%, Europe 25.9%, North America 17.2%, Middle East 7.4%, Latin America 2.2%, Africa 1.1%

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
corpcomms@iata.org

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