VANCOUVER –The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released traffic results for the first four months of the year showing year-on-year international passenger demand growth of 6.7%, freight demand growth significantly slower at 2.6%, with average load factors for the period at 75.4%.

“While we saw slight changes in April, the story for the first four months of the year is stability. For passenger traffic, demand is better than expected, supported by a relatively strong global economy. Freight demand is showing much more price sensitivity than previously. The cargo business is still growing, but competition with other modes of transport is severe. And sea shipping is taking a greater proportion of the benefits from the economic boom,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Over the first four months of the year, the Middle East remained the fastest growing region recording a 17.6% year-on-year passenger demand increase. African airlines saw demand growth of 10.1% boosted by improved economic performance and growing links with Asia and the Middle East. Asia Pacific and Europe grew relatively equally at 6.2% and 6.0%. North American carriers were slightly lower at 5.4% reflecting the weakening US economy. Latin America demand declined (-1.6%) due to industry restructuring.

For air freight, strong economic growth, route expansion and an increase in perishable goods shipments helped Middle Eastern airlines record 12.2% demand growth over the first four months of the year. Asia Pacific at 3.9% was next in line. This is low when compared to the trade expansion in the region. Europe saw a slight contraction of -0.1%, North America was flat at 0.9% demand growth and Latin America demand dropped –5.5%.

“There is lots of good news in the industry. Airlines are emerging into profitability after six years and US$42 billion in losses. Air transport is safer than ever. Simplifying the Business is delivering real results. Liberalised agreements between the US and Europe and the US and China are opening up important markets. And new aircraft on the horizon will create new fuel-efficient opportunities for both hub and point-to-point traffic,” said Bisignani.

“But we also face some big challenges. We cannot take our foot off the gas on the drive for efficiency—internally and with our infrastructure partners. Climate change needs a global solution for aviation. And governments must keep pace with a quickly changing industry with leadership on the core issues of security and liberalisation. These are the leadership challenges that will dominate this year’s Annual General Meeting,” said Bisignani.

The world’s aviation leaders are gathering in Vancouver, Canada for the biggest aviation event of the year: the IATA Annual GeneraI Meeting and World Air Transport Summit (3-5 June). IATA will release an updated financial forecast from its AGM on June 4. Full details and press registration can be found at /events/agm/2007/.

Full April Traffic Results

Editor's Notes:

    • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents 243 airlines comprising 94% of international scheduled air traffic.
    • 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 2006 to 2005, 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.