Global air passenger traffic rose 5.9% in March

1 May 2013 (Last Updated May 1st, 2013 18:30)

Global air passenger traffic increased by 5.9% in March 2013, which was mainly driven by growth in emerging markets according to International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Abu Dhabi Airport

Global air passenger traffic increased by 5.9% in March 2013, which was mainly driven by growth in emerging markets according to International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA reported that capacity increased by 3.5% in March compared to 2012, driving up the passenger load factor to 80.3%.

IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said that mature markets are seeing relatively little growth, while emerging markets continue to show a robust expansion.

"Although oil prices have softened in recent weeks, they remain high against historical averages," Tyler said.

"In view of this, airlines are responding with a very cautious approach to capacity management."

According to the IATA, the growth in passenger traffic was partly due to the Easter holiday in March this year, which fell in April last year.

During March, international passenger demand rose 6.0% over March 2012, with capacity reporting a 3.5% rise, increasing load factor to 79.9%.

International traffic growth was led by the Middle East (15.6%), followed by Latin America (11.8%), Africa (5.7%), Asia-Pacific (5.4%), Europe (3.7%) and North America (2.4%).

Domestic passenger traffic, which was up 5.7% in March, was mainly dominated by China (16.6%) followed by India (7%), US (3.1%), Australia (2.7%), Brazil (1.4%) and Japan (1.1%).

"IATA reported that capacity increased by 3.5% in March compared to 2012, driving up the passenger load factor to 80.3%."

Global air freight market reported weak trends during the month with 2.3% drop in global freight tonne kilometres (FTKs).

Middle East and Africa dominated the global freight market with respective 10.5% and 3.2% rises in cargo traffic, while other regions, including North America (5.2%), Europe (4.0%), Asia-Pacific (3.3%) and Latin America (0.8%), reported respective year-on-year declines.

"Business confidence continues to signal forthcoming expansion, and the solid increase in new export orders seen in 2013 should boost air freight in the coming months," Tyler added.

"The March decline in air cargo is most likely a temporary stall. The fundamentals for a sustained improvement in air cargo volumes are in place."

"Much of the current weakness is coming from Asia-Pacific airlines. The Eurozone is showing renewed weakness and the negative impact of US budget cuts is yet to be fully measured."


Image: Middle East reported highest rise in international air passenger traffic with 15.6% year-over-year rise.