Europe led the way as international demand increased by 5.1% year-on-year.

airlines, growth, demand

Airlines have been commended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as passenger demand experienced solid growth in April.

The latest figures from IATA show that demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers, rose by 4.3% compared to a year earlier.

Capacity, measured in available seat kilometers, also grew by 3.6% in April and load factor increased 0.6 percentage point to 82.8%—a record for the month, surpassing the previous figure of 82.2% recorded in 2018.

Airlines are doing a very good job of managing aircraft utilization, leading to record load factors

“We experienced solid but not exceptional rising demand for air connectivity in April. This partly is owing to the timing of Easter, but also reflects the slowing global economy,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Driven by tariffs and trade disputes, global trade is falling, and as a result, we are not seeing traffic growing at the same levels as a year ago. However, airlines are doing a very good job of managing aircraft utilization, leading to record load factors.”

International demand rose 5.1% year-on-year, with all regions—led by Europe—enjoying increases in traffic. Capacity grew by 3.8% and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 82.5%.

See the full breakdown by region below:

  • European airlines’ April traffic increased 8.0% compared to the year-ago period, up from 4.9% annual growth in March. Capacity rose 6.6% and load factor surged 1.1 percentage points to 85.7%, highest among the regions.
  • Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 2.9% traffic rise in April, up from 2% growth in March but well below the long-term average. Capacity climbed 3.7% and load factor dropped 0.6 percentage point to 80.8%.
  • Middle East carriers saw demand rise 2.9% in April, which was a recovery from a 3.0% decline in traffic in March. Capacity fell 1.6% and load factor soared 3.5 percentage points to 80.5%. 
  • North American airlines posted a 5.5% demand increase compared to April 2018, which was up from 3.2% year-over-year growth in March. Capacity climbed 3.2%, and load factor rose 1.8 percentage points to 82.2%. 
  • Latin American airlines experienced a 5.2% rise in April demand compared to the same month last year, slightly up on 4.9% growth in March. Capacity increased by 4.0% and load factor edged up 0.9 percentage point to 82.8%.
  • African airlines had a 1.1% traffic increase in April, which was down from 1.6% growth in March and was the slowest regional growth since early 2015. Capacity climbed 0.1%, and load factor edged up 0.7 percentage point to 72.6%.
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