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Press Release No.: 25

Date: 29 May 2019

Solid Passenger Demand Growth in April

Translations:
Forte croissance du trafic passagers en avril (pdf)
Sólido crecimiento de pasajeros aéreos en abril (pdf)
Crescimento sólido da demanda de passageiros em abril (pdf)
IATA 올해 국제 항공교통통계조사 4월 결과 발표 (pdf)
国际航协:4月份全球航空客运需求增势稳健 (pdf)

Seoul – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for April 2019 showing that demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose by 4.3% compared to April 2018. April capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 3.6%, and load factor climbed 0.6 percentage point to 82.8%, which was a record for the month of April, surpassing last year’s record of 82.2%. Regionally, Africa, Europe and Latin America posted record load factors.

Comparisons between the two months are distorted owing to the timing of the Easter holiday, which occurred on 1 April in 2018 but fell much later in the month in 2019.

“We experienced solid but not exceptional rising demand for air connectivity in April. This partly is owing to the timing of Easter, but also reflects the slowing global economy. Driven by tariffs and trade disputes, global trade is falling, and as a result, we are not seeing traffic growing at the same levels as a year ago. However, airlines are doing a very good job of managing aircraft utilization, leading to record load factors.” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

April 2019 (% year-on-year)World share1RPK ASKPLF (%-pt)​2PLF (level)​3
Total Market100.0%4.3%3.6%0.6​%82.8%
Africa2.1%1.6%0.6%​0.7%73.3%
Asia Pacific34.4%2.1%3.2%​-0.9%​81.7%
Europe26.7​%7.6%6.3%​1.0%85.1%
Latin America5.1%​5.7%4.7%​0.8%​82.2%
Middle East​​9.2%2.6%-1.6%​3.3%​80.3%
North America

22.5%

4.4%3.4%​0.8%83.9​%

1-% of Industry RPKs in 2018                2-Year-on-year chnage in load factor                 3-Load factor level

International Passenger Markets

April international passenger demand rose 5.1% compared to April 2018. All regions recorded year-over-year traffic increases, led by airlines in Europe. Total capacity climbed 3.8%, and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 82.5%.

  • European airlines’ April traffic increased 8.0% compared to the year-ago period, up from 4.9% annual growth in March. While this represented the strongest monthly growth since December, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, RPKs have only risen by 1% since November 2018, suggesting the global economic and trade backdrop – along with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit – is impacting demand. Capacity rose 6.6% and load factor surged 1.1 percentage points to 85.7%, highest among the regions.
  • Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 2.9% traffic rise in April, up from 2% growth in March but well below the long-term average. Capacity climbed 3.7% and load factor dropped 0.6 percentage point to 80.8%. Asia-Pacific was the only region to experience a decline in load factor compared to the same month a year ago. Results largely reflect the slowdown in global trade, including the impact from the China-US trade tensions on the broader region, which continue to weigh on passenger demand.
  • Middle East carriers saw demand rise 2.9% in April, which was a recovery from a 3.0% decline in traffic in March. Notwithstanding the monthly turnaround, in seasonally-adjusted terms the downward trend in traffic growth continues, reflecting broader structural changes affecting the industry in the region. Capacity fell 1.6% and load factor soared 3.5 percentage points to 80.5%.
  • North American airlines posted a 5.5% demand increase compared to April 2018, which was up from 3.2% year-over-year growth in March. A strong domestic economy, low unemployment and a strong dollar are offsetting any impacts from current trade tensions. Capacity climbed 3.2%, and load factor rose 1.8 percentage points to 82.2%.
  • Latin American airlines experienced a 5.2% rise in April demand compared to the same month last year, slightly up on 4.9% growth in March. Capacity increased by 4.0% and load factor edged up 0.9 percentage point to 82.8%. The strong results are occurring against a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty in some key regional economies. Strong South-North traffic flows may be supporting demand growth.
  • African airlines had a 1.1% traffic increase in April, which was down from 1.6% growth in March and was the slowest regional growth since early 2015. Like Latin America, Africa is seeing some economic and political uncertainty in the largest markets. Capacity climbed 0.1%, and load factor edged up 0.7 percentage point to 72.6%.



Domestic Passenger Markets


Demand for domestic travel climbed 2.8% in April compared to April 2018, down from 4.1% growth in March year-over-year. The slowing trend is being driven primarily by developments in China and India discussed below. Capacity increased 3.2%, and load factor slid 0.3 percentage point to 83.2%.

April 2019 (% year-on-year)World share1RPK ASKPLF (%-pt)​2PLF (level)​3
Domestic36.0%2.8%3.2%-0.93%83.2%
Domestic Brazil1.1%0.6%-1.1%​1.4%81.9%
Dom. China P.R.9.5%3.4%5.4%​-1.6%​84.3%
Domestic India1.6​%-0.5%0.5%​-0.9%88.6%
Domestic Japan1.0%​3.4%2.6%​0.5%​67.3%
Dom. Russian Fed. ​​1.4%10.4%10.4%​0.0%​81.0%
Domestic US14.1%4.1%3.78%​0.2%84.7%

1-% of Industry RPKs in 2018                  2-Year-on-year chnage in load factor                 3-Load factor level

China’s domestic traffic increased 3.4% in April, up from 2.8% in March, but still well below the 2016-2018 period when growth averaged around 12%, reflecting the impact of the US-China trade dispute and softening in a number of economic indicators.

India’s airlines’ traffic actually fell 0.5% year-over-year, reflecting the impact of the shut-down of Jet Airways. This marked the first time in six years that monthly domestic traffic declined compared to the year-ago period.
 
IATA AGM: In just a few days, commercial aviation’s center of gravity will shift to Seoul, Republic of Korea, for IATA’s 75th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit (1-3 June 2019). The event is open to accredited journalists.

Read the full  April Passenger Traffic Analysis (pdf)

For more information, please contact:
Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org

Notes for editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.
  • You can follow us at https://twitter.com/iata for announcements, policy positions, and other useful industry information.
  • All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures are subject to revision.
  • Domestic RPKs accounted for about 36% of the total market. It is most important for North American airlines as it is about 66% of their operations. In Latin America, domestic travel accounts for 46% of operations, primarily owing to the large Brazilian market. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 45% of the region’s operations. It is less important for Europe and most of Africa where domestic travel represents just 11% and 14% of operations, respectively. And it is negligible for Middle Eastern carriers for whom domestic travel represents just 4% of operations.
  • Explanation of measurement terms:
    • RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic
    • ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity
    • PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used.
  • IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.
  • Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 34.4%, Europe 26.7%, North America 22.5%, Middle East 9.2%, Latin America 5.1%, and Africa 2.1%.

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