Passenger numbers bounced back in October, as IATA’s latest global passenger traffic results show.
Demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs, rose 6.3% compared to the same month last year. This marked a rebound from 5.5% growth recorded in September, which was an eight-month low. Capacity also grew 6.3% and load factor was flat at 81.1%, matching last year’s record for the month.
“October’s healthy performance is reassuring after the slower demand growth in September—some of which was attributable to weather-related disruptions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“However, the bigger picture is that traffic growth has moderated compared to earlier in the year, reflecting a more mixed economic backdrop and reduced demand stimulation from lower fares.”
October’s healthy performance is reassuring after slower growth in September—some of which was attributable to weather-related disruptions
October international passenger demand rose 6.3% compared to October 2017, up from 5.1% growth in September, with airlines in all regions recording gains. Total capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor increased 0.1 percentage point to 79.8%.
Demand at domestic level climbed 6.4% in October compared to October 2017, unchanged from September, while capacity rose 6.7%. Load factor slipped 0.2 percentage point to 83.3%. China, India and Russia led all markets with double-digit growth rates.
Breakdown, by region:
- European carriers’ October demand climbed 7.5% over October 2017, which was the strongest growth among regions and well up on the 5.3% increase for September. Capacity rose 7.0% and load factor edged up 0.4 percentage point to 85.2%, highest among regions.
- Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 5.8% compared to the year-ago period, up from 5.4% year-over-year growth in September. Capacity climbed 5.4% and load factor rose 0.3 percentage points to 78.9%.
- Middle East carriers experienced a 4.4% rise in demand in October compared to last year, slowest among the regions for the seventh time in 12 months. It was, however, an increase over the 3.3% increase in September. Capacity increased 6.4%, and load factor slid 1.3 percentage points to 69.8%, lowest among regions.
- North American airlines’ traffic climbed 5.6% in October compared to the year-ago period, up from 4.9% growth in September. Capacity rose 3.7% and load factor surged 1.4 percentage points to 80.4%.
- Latin American airlines were the only carriers to experience a slowdown in growth as demand rose 5.9% versus 6.3% in September. Capacity climbed 9.1%, and load factor dropped 2.4 percentage points to 80.4%.
- African airlines’ traffic grew 6.8% year-on-year in October, raised from 6% annual growth in September. Capacity rose 5.5%, and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 70.3%.