Local airlines keep pace with demand for air travel
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said global demand for international and domestic air travel remained strong, with gains led by carriers in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
In a statement, Iata said international demand in February this year rose 9.1 percent year-on-year, with all carriers in all regions showing growth. Total capacity, it said, rose 9.9 percent, although load factor slid 0.6 percentage points to 76.6 percent. Iata is the trade association of the world’s airlines.
“In the first two months of 2016, demand for passenger connectivity is off to its strongest start in eight years,” Tony Tyler, Iata director general and CEO, said in the statement.
“However, February was the first month since the middle of 2015 in which capacity growth exceeded demand, which caused the global load factor to decline. It is unclear whether this signals the start of a generalized downward trend in load factor, but it bears watching,” he added.
Data from Iata showed February traffic for Asia Pacific airlines rose 11.2 percent compared to the year-ago period.
Moreover, capacity increased 10.3 percent, and load factor also rose 0.7 percentage points to 78.3 percent.
“Comparisons with 2015 are distorted by the timing of the Lunar New Year celebrations, which took place in February this year,” Iata said.
“Slower economic growth in many of the region’s economies has been at least partly offset by the 7.3 percent increase in the number of direct airport connections within the region, which has helped to stimulate passenger demand,” it added.
Local carriers already signaled that strong demand would continue in 2016.
The country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines earlier said it would carry about 14 million passengers this year, up 16.7 percent, while budget carrier Cebu Pacific Air said it would carry 20 million passengers, up 11 percent year-on-year.
Iata noted Middle East carriers also recorded growth in February 2016, with demand increasing by 11.3 percent.
This was exceeded, however, by a 16.9 percent rise in capacity that caused load factor to drop 3.7 percentage points to 73 percent. Traffic growth has been trailing behind capacity growth for six consecutive months, Iata said.
For domestic travel, demand rose 7.9 percent year-on-year. Iata said markets except Brazil showed growth, with the strongest increases occurring in India, the US and China.
“On March 22 we had a grim reminder that transportation—including aviation—remained a target for terrorism,” Tyler said, referring to the Brussels terror attacks. “The subway is back in operation. And the airport is working hard to return to normal operations that will reconnect Europe’s capital with the world. Aviation is a force for good.”
“We are once again proving that terrorists will never succeed in destroying the fundamental urge of people to travel, explore and learn about the world,” he added.
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