Robust Passenger Demand Continues but Air Freight Demand Falls in July

- Geneva, Switzerland.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for July showing robust demand growth compared to July 2014 for both domestic and international traffic.

Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 8.2%, which was an improvement on the June year-over-year increase of 5.5%. July capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.5%, and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 83.6%. Results were given a boost by the timing of Ramadan which fell partly in July this year but took place mostly in July in 2014. The holy month tends to subdue demand for air travel.

“July results were strongly positive but slowing global trade and the wild gyrations of stock exchanges around the globe suggest that we may be in for some turbulence in coming months,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.  

July 2015 vs. July 2014

RPK Growth

ASK Growth

PLF

International

8.6%

6.5%

83.5%

Domestic

7.6%

6.5%

83.6%

Total Market

8.2%

6.5%

83.6%

 

YTD 2015 vs. YTD  2014

RPK Growth

ASK Growth

PLF

International

6.6%

6.2%

79.4%

Domestic

6.4%

5.7%

81.2%

Total Market

6.5%

6.0%

80.1%

  
International Passenger Markets

July international passenger demand rose 8.6% compared to the same month in 2014, with airlines in all regions recording growth, including Africa for the first time this year. Total capacity climbed 6.5%, pushing load factor up 1.6 percentage points to 83.5%.

  • Asia-Pacific airlines saw July traffic increase 8.5% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 6.5% and load factor climbed 1.5 percentage points to 80.3%. The strong performance occurred despite notable declines in trade as well as slower than expected growth in China.
  • European carriers’ demand increased by 6.7%, reflecting economic recovery in the Eurozone, while capacity climbed 4.0% and load factor rose 2.2 percentage points to 87.3%, highest among the regions.
  • North American airlines’ traffic rose 5.3% compared to July a year ago, which was more than double the 2.6% rise achieved in June year over year. Capacity climbed 3.5% and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 86.5%. Expectations for better economic performance are supporting travel demand.
  • Middle East carriers experienced a 19.8% demand surge in July over the same month in 2014 buoyed by the timing of Ramadan. Capacity rose 17.7% and load factor climbed 1.5 percentage points to 79.6%.
  • Latin American airlines’ July traffic climbed 8.5% compared to July 2014. Capacity increased by 8.0% and load factor rose 0.4 percentage points to 82.7%. Despite recessionary conditions in Brazil and Argentina trade volumes in the region showed strong improvement during the first half of the year, providing a boost to business-related international travel.
  • African airlines’ traffic moved into positive territory for the first time this year, rising 4.9% in July over July 2014. However, the result could be owing to volatility in reported volumes, as fundamental economic drivers remain weak. Capacity rose 3.9%, with the result that load factor improved 0.6 percentage points to 70.9%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic travel demand rose 7.6% in July compared to July 2014. All markets showed growth with the strongest increases occurring in India and China. Domestic capacity climbed 6.5%, and load factor improved 0.8 percentage points to 83.6%.   

July 2015 vs July 2014

RPK Growth

ASK Growth

PLF

Australia

2.8%

1.9%

79.8%

Brazil

6.6%

5.7%

82.7%

China P.R

10.9%

9.5%

81.7%

India

28.1%

10.4%

80.7%

Japan

0.4%

-0.1%

65.5%

Russian Federation

8.8%

12.2%

82.7%

US

5.9%

5.5%

88.4%

Domestic

7.6%

6.5%

83.6%

  • India’s domestic demand soared 28.1% in July compared to a year ago likely owing to significant increases in service frequencies and improvements in economic growth.
  • China domestic traffic climbed 10.9% year-over-year. Recent developments in the Chinese economy, including deep declines in the country’s stock exchange, have increased concerns about a further slowdown in the economy.

The Bottom Line: “Following a strong summer the outlook heading into autumn is unsettled to say the least. While passenger demand remains healthy, air cargo growth turned negative in July. The downward movement in stock markets around the globe reflects investors’ growing concerns about slowing trade and economic growth in emerging economies, as well as China’s continued shift towards domestic markets. Aviation’s connectivity creates economic opportunities and contributes to job creation. Governments looking to shore up consumer confidence and encourage spending should be encouraging greater connectivity by removing barriers to growth such as heavy taxes and charges and infrastructure constraints,” said Tyler.

View July air passenger results (pdf) 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing a fall in air cargo demand in July compared to the same month last year. Air freight volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTK) fell 0.6%, in line with weaker global economic growth.

The decline was broad-based across all regions with the exception of Africa and the Middle East. The most pronounced falls were in the Americas, where international FTK volumes were down more than 5% compared to July 2014.

“The recent stock-market turmoil shows that investors have real fears about the strength of the global economy. And the disappointing July freight performance is symptomatic of a broader slowdown in economic growth. The combination of China’s continued shift towards domestic markets, wider weakness in emerging markets, and slowing global trade indicates that it will continue to be a rough ride for air cargo in the months to come,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

 

July 2015 vs. July 2014

FTK Growth

AFTK Growth

FLF

International

-0.7%

6.7%

44..5%

Domestic

0.2%

7.0%

27.6%

Total Market

-0.6%

6.7%

41.2%

 

YTD 2015 vs. YTD  2014

FTK Growth

AFTK Growth

FLF

International

3.2%

6.4%

47.5%

Domestic

0.8%

2.8%

29.6%

Total Market

2.9%

5.7%

44.0%


Regional analysis in detail

  • Asia-Pacific carriers saw a fall in FTKs of 1.9% in July compared to July 2014, and capacity expanded 5.3%. The region has experienced notable declines in imports and exports during 2015, with Chinese manufacturing particularly struggling.
  • European carriers reported a fall in demand in June of 1.5% compared to a year ago and capacity rose 3.9%. Central and Eastern Europe has had an especially tough few months, with trade in this region falling around 10% since the end of the first quarter.  
  • North American airlines experienced a decline of 3.7% year-on-year and capacity grew 5.4%. Despite the subdued performance of the U.S. economy in the first quarter, air freight benefited from a modal shift to air as a result of the West Coast ports strike in the U.S. This impact has faded and although economic performance likely improved in Q2, this does not seem to be driving stronger air freight demand.
  • Middle Eastern carriers saw the strongest growth with demand expanding by 10.8%, and capacity rising 18.3%. The reason for the slightly more subdued performance in July is due to the timing of Ramadan, which traditionally gives a boost to air freight. Ramadan started in June this year whereas it took place mostly in July in 2014.
  • Latin American airlines reported a fall in demand of 5.1% year-on-year, and capacity expanded 3.2%. Regional trade activity, Brazil and Argentina excepted, was very solid in the first half of 2015, but this did not feed through into stronger demand for air freight. 
  • African carriers experienced growth in demand of 3.6%, and capacity rose by 11.4%. In contrast to Latin America, the strong regional trade performance in the region has underpinned solid air freight growth, despite the underperformance of the Nigerian and South African economies.

View July air freight results (pdf)


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