GENEVA - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for July showing strong but moderating demand growth. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.8%, compared to the same month last year, down from 7.7% year-over-year growth recorded in June.
All regions reported solid or better growth in passenger volumes over the past year. Capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.1%, and load factor rose 0.6 percentage points to a July record of 84.7%.
"As is evidenced by the record high load factor in July, the appetite for air travel remains very strong. However, the stimulus effect of lower fares is softening in the face of rising cost inputs. This suggests a moderating in the supportive demand backdrop," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
International Passenger Markets
July international passenger demand rose 6.2% compared to July 2016, which was a slow-down compared to the 7.6% growth recorded in June. Total capacity climbed 5.5%, and load factor edged up 0.5 percentage points to 84.6%.
European carriers posted a 7.5% rise in traffic for July compared to a year ago, down from 8.8% annual growth in June. Capacity rose 5.9%, and load factor climbed 1.3 percentage points to 88.7%, highest among the regions. The economic backdrop in Europe has strengthened; however, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the upward growth in travel demand has moderated sharply since February.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ July traffic rose 5.9% over the year-ago period, a deceleration compared to June growth of 8.8%. As with Europe, carriers in the Asia-Pacific region are seeing a slowing of demand growth. Capacity increased 6.7% and load factor slipped 0.6 percentage points to 81.0%.
Middle East carriers had a 4.5% increase in demand for July. This was an acceleration from the 3.6% annual growth seen in June, but was still well off the 5-year average pace of 11.2%. The Middle East to North America market has been affected by a combination of factors in 2017, including the recently-lifted cabin ban on large portable electronic devices, as well as a wider impact from the proposed travel bans to the US. Traffic growth on the Middle East-US route was already slowing in early 2017, in line with a moderation in the pace of expansion of nonstop services flown by the largest Middle Eastern airlines. July capacity climbed 3.6% compared to a year ago and load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 81.5%.