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November 2017 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis
Air passenger volumes are carrying solid momentum into 2018

Robust passenger demand growth in November
Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) grew by 8.0% year-on-year in November – the fastest rate in five months and up from 7.3% in October. With just one month’s worth of data to come, 2017 remains on track to be another year of above-trend passenger growth, some way ahead of the ten-year average pace (5.5%).

Another above-trend year expected in 2018…

We expect another year of above-trend passenger growth in 2018 as a whole, albeit at a slightly slower pace than seen in 2017. This view mainly reflects increases in airline input costs – notably fuel prices but also labor costs in certain countries – which mean that we are unlikely to see the same degree of stimulation to demand from lower airfares in 2018 than we have in recent years.

Indeed, at the time of writing, oil prices are currently at their highest level since May 2015, more than 50% higher than their level in mid-2017.

…helped by buoyant global economic conditions

Nonetheless, global passenger traffic is carrying solid momentum into 2018; having moderated slightly over the course of 2017, the upward trend in RPKs has since increased to an annualized pace of around 7-8% over the past six months or so.

Moreover, recent increases in business confidence point to a strong start to 2018 for passenger growth. The composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a measure of global business confidence, which has proved to be a useful leading indicator of air passenger demand growth in the past – ended 2017 at its highest level in almost three years.

Highlights of the November 2017 Air Passenger Market Analysis

  • Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose by a robust 8.0% year-on-year in November. With just one month’s worth of data to come, 2017 remains on track to be another year of above-trend air passenger growth.
  • The upward RPK trend has strengthened towards the end of 2017, pointing to good start for pax growth in 2018.
  • The industry-wide seasonally adjusted (SA) load factor rose above 82% for the first time ever in November...
  • …with load factors in each of the seven domestic markets that we track posting record highs for the month. Download the full document here. 

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