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October 2017 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis
Air passenger volumes post robust year-on-year growth in October

Annual RPK growth makes a robust start to Q4…
Year-on-year growth in industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) accelerated to a robust 7.2% in October, up from 6.0% in the previous month.

Global RPKs have now grown by 7.7% in annual terms so far this year. All told, 2017 remains on course to be another year of above-trend passenger growth, some way ahead of the ten-year average pace (5.5%).

…as RPKs bounce back from hurricane disruption

As expected, passenger volumes recovered in October following the disruption caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria on operations in the Americas in September. Global RPKs did not grow at all in SA month-on-month terms last month, but jumped by 1.1% in October as operations returned to normal – the strongest rise on this basis in ten months.

Upward trend in SA traffic has slowed…

That said, and as we have noted before, the broader upward trend in SA RPKs has slowed over the course of 2017. This is principally because the degree of stimulation to demand from lower airfares has fallen.

Indeed, despite the large month-on-month rise in October, industry-wide RPKs are currently trending upwards at an annualized pace of around 5.5-6%. This is still slightly faster than the ten-year average pace, but to put it in perspective, it is only around half of the trend rate during H2 2016.

Highlights of the October 2017 Air Passenger Market Analysis

  • Global revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose by a robust 7.2% year-on-year in October. As expected, volumes rose strongly in seasonally adjusted (SA) month-on-month terms after the hurricane-related disruption in September.
  • The upward trend in RPKs has moderated over the course of the year, but remains solid by historical standards.
  • Once again, the industry-wide load factor posted a record high for the month (80.8% of available seat kilometres).
  • Domestic US pax volumes bounced back in October, while India topped the domestic growth chart once again. Download the full document here. 

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