Slowing global economy hits air traffic

IATA releases Premium Traffic Monitor for September

Growth in the number of international air passengers slowed in September, rising 2.3% compared to the same month a year before – a weaker increase than the 4.5% achieved in August, the International Air Transport Association reveals in its latest Premium Traffic Monitor. Premium and economy passenger numbers showed the same slower rate of increase, 2.3%.

There was a clear decline in passenger numbers in September compared to August. But IATA stresses this is partly a correction in volumes after a strong increase in August compared to July. “Importantly, the overall trend remains positive,” the association said.

But there is also a more fundamental weakening the positive growth trend, with the latest data showing widespread slowing in major economies at the start of the fourth quarter of 2014.

The market within the Far East remains weak, contracting 1.6% in September year-on-year. Air-travel declines in Thailand and Malaysia are now being compounded by setbacks in the Chinese economy.

The recent weakening of the Eurozone economy may be starting to have negative impacts on travel demand, IATA says, with a rise of just 2.3% for the market within Europe – slower than the trend so far this year (3.6%).

Longer-haul markets have been performing more strongly, including the North Atlantic and North and Mid Pacific, which explains why international RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres) are growing much faster than passenger numbers, IATA says.

TTG Nordic

[pictured: Cathay Pacific business class; courtesy Cathay Pacific]