People, Travel

International Air Passenger Growth at 6% for 1H 2016

International Air Passenger Growth at 6% for 1H 2016International Air Passenger Growth at 6% for 1H 2016

Global air passenger traffic growth is up 6% year-on-year in the first half of 2016, according to IATA’s latest Air Passenger Market Analysis.

Compared to 5.9% growth in the first half of 2015, the figure includes this year’s extra leap day.

IATA estimates that without the extra day, 2016’s first-half growth is 5.4%, which is still “broadly in line with the average pace seen over the past decade”, IATA said.

Year-to-date, total market capacity is up 6.2% year-on-year, with a total passenger load factor of 79.2%, ATW Online reported.

Total market passenger traffic in June was up 5.2%, improved on May’s 4.8% growth. June capacity was up 5.6% and the total market load factor came to 80.7%.

“Demand for travel continues to increase, but at a slower pace,” IATA director general and CEO, Tony Tyler, said. “The fragile and uncertain economic backdrop, political shocks and a wave of terrorist attacks are all contributing to a softer demand environment.”

IATA senior economist, David Oxley, said loss of momentum can be attributed partly to the ongoing and cumulative impacts of recent high-profile terrorist attacks, which have weighed on international European traffic in particular.

“Typically, the impact of such shock events is just transitory, but the repeated nature of recent events suggests that the effects may be longer-lasting this time,” he said.

Oxley said passenger demand continues to be supported somewhat by lower airfares.

“Further stimulus is likely to come through during the rest of 2016 from lagged impacts of prior falls in oil prices,” he said.

Worldwide international passenger traffic was up 5% in June, up 0.7 point from May, but down 1.2 points compared to June 2015. June passenger growth occurred in all of the world regions.

Capacity on international routes increased 6.4% YOY, resulting in an international traffic passenger load factor of 79.4%, up 2.3 points from May.

Middle Eastern carriers posted a 7.5% traffic increase in June, but was well below the double-digit growth recorded earlier in the year.

IATA said there remains little sign of a marked easing in the “strong upward trend” in traffic in the Middle East.

All segment-based passenger routes to and from the Middle East saw “solid gains” during the first five months of 2016. Obviously, the region’s growth was lifted off by the three big Persian Gulf carriers–Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad, Gulf Times reported.

That said, the rise in passenger capacity continues unabated; annual growth in Middle Eastern international revenue passenger kilometer has now lagged behind that of capacity for 19 of the past 21 months, resulting in the load factor slipping back