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August 2017 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis
A strong peak period, but the upward trend in traffic has eased

August data complete a strong peak period...
Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) grew by 7.2 % year-on-year in August, up slightly from July, and completing a solid performance during the peak northern-hemisphere summer period; industry-wide RPKs grew by 7.1% year-on-year in July and August combined, compared to 5.6% in the same period a year ago. This looks set to help underpin another year of above-trend growth in passenger traffic in 2017, some way ahead of the five-year average RPK growth rate (6.5%).

...but further signs of an easing in the SA trend

That said, and as we have noted before, the latest data once again showed that the upward trend in SA passenger traffic has eased from that seen towards the end of last year. Indeed, industry-wide RPKs were trending upwards at a double-digit annualized pace coming into 2017, but this has now slowed to a more moderate pace in the region of 6%.

Reduced stimulus from lower airfares...

This moderation has in part reflected a reduced degree of stimulus to demand from lower airfaires. Admittedly, passenger yields in July 2017 were only slightly higher than they were in the same month in 2016 (0.1% when adjusting for potential distortions from exchange rate movements); in fact, adjusting for inflation, the price of air travel still became relatively cheaper than other goods and services over the period. However, passenger yields have clearly now began to trend upwards, albeit modestly.

Highlights of the August 2017 Air Passenger Market Analysis

  • Global revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) increased by a robust 7.2% in August compared to a year ago.
  • Solid gains during the peak summer period look set to help underpin another year of above - trend RPK growth in 2017. However, the upward trend in seasonally adjusted (SA) traffic has moderated since the start of the year.
  • The global passenger load factor rose from August 2016, but was just below the record for the month set in 2015.
  • India rose to the top of the domestic chart with its 36th consecutive month of doube-digit annual RPK growth. Download the full document here. 

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