Airline industry has “shifted gears downward”

IATA reports August figures, showing that passenger demand is slowing

The aviation industry is being hit by slowing demand from passengers as global consumer confidence slumps, according to the latest figures from the trade association IATA. In its traffic results for August, announced yesterday, IATA says that while passenger demand was up 4.5% over last August, this represents a significant slowing from the 6% recorded in July. “The industry has shifted gears downward,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. “The pace of growth in passenger markets has dipped. With business and consumer confidence continuing to slump globally, there is not a lot of optimism for improved conditions any time soon.”
Comparisons of July to August more clearly indicate the slowdown. The total passenger market fell by 1.6% in August compared to July. International markets declined by 1.8%, while already weak domestic markets shrank by 1%. Passenger load factors were high at 81.4%, almost as high as July. While this shows the industry’s ability to efficiently allocate capacity, IATA said that it too showed weakness, falling 1.3% compared to July. International passenger demand was up 6.2% in August compared to the previous year. But compared to July it contracted by 1.8%.
European airlines achieved the strongest growth in international passenger traffic in August with a 7.9% increase, slightly below a capacity expansion of 8.2%. Load factors are at a historic high of 83.9%. While the August growth was the strongest in the industry, ITA said it should be noted that this is below the 10.6% demand expansion reported for the first eight months of the year, indicating that markets are softening.
[pictured: Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A330 during takeoff at Copenhagen Airport]

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