Air travel demand up, load factors down

IATA: Events in Japan and Middle East impact European air transport

The International Air Transport Association has announced its scheduled international traffic results for March 2011, showing that year-on-year growth in passenger demand slowed to 3.8% from the 5.8% recorded in February. Compared to February, global demand fell by 0.3% in March. The impact of the events in Japan on global international traffic was a 1% loss of traffic in March. Looked at regionally, Asia-Pacific carriers saw a traffic loss of over 2%, North American carriers saw a 1% drop and Europe’s carriers a 0.5% fall. Japan’s domestic market was the most severely impacted, with a 22% fall in demand.
The continuing disruptions in the Middle East and North Africa cut international travel by 0.9%. Egypt and Tunisia experienced traffic levels 10-25% below normal for March. Military action in Libya of course virtually stopped civil aviation to, from and within that country.
In Europe, however, carriers saw demand levels of 5.3% above March 2010, although this was down from the 7.4% year-on-year growth in February. Compared to February levels, European airlines added 0.5% to capacity but experienced zero demand growth. This pushed load factors down by 0.3 percentage points to 75.3%. Long-haul business travel is strong – except to Japan – but weak economic prospects continue to dampen intra-European traffic.
[pictured: TAP aircraft; photo courtesy Star Alliance]