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October 2018 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis
Recovery in annual growth in Oct, but upward trend has slowed

Highlights of the October 2018 Air Passenger Market Analysis

  • Annual growth in industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) recovered to 6.3% in October, having slowed to an eight-month low of 5.5% in September. However, the upward traffic trend has slowed over the past six months. 
  • The industry-wide load factor was broadly unchanged in annual terms in October, at a record high for the month (81.1%). Nonetheless, passenger capacity is now currently trending upwards slightly faster than demand. 
  • Domestic India RPKs posted their 50th month in a row of double-digit year-on-year growth, while European airlines posted the fastest international RPK growth rate for the first time since June 2017.

African airlines growth accelerated to 6.8% in October
Annual international RPK growth for airlines based in Africa accelerated to 6.8% in October – well ahead of the five-year average (4.7%) and enough to keep the region in the top two for the fifth month in a row. Despite ongoing challenges in the economic backdrop of the continent’s largest economies, the upward trend in passenger demand remains strong.

Pick-up in annual passenger growth in October…
Annual growth in industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) accelerated to 6.3% in October, up from an eight-month low of 5.5% in September. We had expected some recovery in the annual RPK growth rate in October following the temporary weather-related disruption that affected the September data (this included Typhoon Jebi in Japan, which caused the complete closure of Kansai airport for a number of days). We have estimated that such disruption reduced annual global RPK growth by around 0.1-0.2 percentage point in September

……but the upward traffic trend has moderated

While the bounceback in year-on-year growth in October was bigger than can be explained just by the weather impacts alone, the bigger picture is that the rate has only recovered to where it stood in August. In any case, and as we have noted before, the key point is that the seasonally adjusted (SA) upward trend in RPKs has moderated in recent months. Passenger volumes have risen at around a 6% annualized pace over the past six months – down from closer to 9% earlier in the year. Download the full document here. 

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