(Tokyo) "Passenger traffic growth of 8.7% shows that demand for travel is strong. Slower cargo growth of 4.7% reflects a general slowdown in global economic activity. The real story, however, is the bottom line. The continuing extra-ordinary price of oil and increasing pressure on yields means that a speedy transition to a low-cost industry is critical," said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA released traffic data to the end of April 2005. Capacity expansion in all regions for the first quarter was below traffic growth, maintaining load factors at 73.6% for the period. Freight expansion for the first four months was 4.7%. This reflects a rebound in April over weak results for February and March. Distortions due to holiday periods continue to make year on year comparisons difficult.

"While there has been some relief in fuel prices in the last weeks, the current levels are considerably higher than the US$38 per barrel of last year. This is the single biggest factor impacting our profitability. Efficiency across the industry's value chain is the only solution," said Bisignani.

Bisignani's remarks came as 700 top leaders of the airline industry prepare for the World Air Transport Summit and IATA's 61st Annual General Meeting to be held in Tokyo, Japan on 30-31 May 2005. The theme of the meeting is "En-route to a low cost industry".

"The World Air Transport Summit is an opportunity take stock of our achievements and plan future directions. Efficiency improvements by airlines have been impressive with 2-3% gains in each of the last two years and even more expected for 2005. Airlines are transforming their businesses with great speed. And, at an industry level, the IATA Simplifying the Business initiative will be a revolution in the way that people ship and travel—greater convenience and lower costs," said Bisignani.

"Our partners and governments are not changing with the same sense of urgency," said Bisignani. "Airports and air navigation service providers must share our obsession with costs. And governments must wake-up to the need for a new approach to the industry. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the benefits of a IATA and the global network system, we will send a clarion call for clear and common-sense measures to bring the industry back to health," said Bisignani.

April 2005 over April 2004

RPK Growth

ASK Growth

PLF %FTK GrowthATK Growth
Africa9.2 %8.8 %66.7 11.5 %12.7 %
Asia/Pacific8.0 %
7.5 %70.8 5.9 %7.5 %
Europe4.3 %5.1 %75.1 5.0 %5.0 %
Middle East13.2 %11.0 %71.1 13.9 %12.9 %
North America10.2 %10.2 %78.2 0.9 %5.1 %
Latin America10.1%12.8 %68.8 3.3 %8.9 %
Industry7.5 %7.6 %73.4 5.3 %6.8 %

January -April 2005 YTD (year to date)RPK GrowthASK Growth


FTK GrowthATK Growth
Africa11.8 %7.5 %70.0 11.6 %10.1 %
Asia/Pacific8.2 %7.4 %72.1 5.6 %8.1 %

6.0 %

5.1 %


3.8 %

5.8 %

Middle East

13.6 %

12.2 %


14.0 %

13.1 %
North America11.5 %10.0 %77.6 1.2 %6.4 %
Latin America13.7 %13.1 %72.7-1.2 %6.4 %
Industry8.7 %7.6 %73.64.7 %7.5 %

Notes for editors:

  • Month-on-month results for passenger and freight results for March are distorted by the Easter holiday period which moved from April in 2004 to March in 2005.
  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents 265 airlines comprising 94% of international scheduled air traffic.
  • The IATA Billing and Settlement Plan operates in 71 countries for 390 airline and non-airline participants covering 150 countries and territories.
  • Explanation of measurements:
    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 2004 to 2003, 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.
  • Due to uncertainties in the adoption of the new ICAO statistical definitions by reporting carriers, care should be taken when making year comparisons.