Sat, Jan 01, 2011
IATA Stats Shows Growth From Previous Months Slowing
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced
international scheduled traffic results for November showing 8.2%
year-on-year passenger traffic growth and a 5.4% increase for
freight. The passenger load factor for November averaged 75.6%
while the freight load factor stood at 55.2% for the month.
November saw traffic growth slow from the 10% increase recorded
in the passenger business and the 14.5% growth in freight in
October. The slowdown in 2010 is partially skewed because of the
exceptionally rapid rise in traffic volumes recorded during the
fourth quarter of 2009. However, when viewed in absolute terms, air
travel fell by 0.8% and air freight fell by 1.1% between October
and November 2010.
This slower growth does not necessarily signal a negative trend.
Even with the decline in November, passenger and freight traffic
are still expanding at annualized rates of between 5-6% which is in
line with the industry's historical growth trend.
"The industry is shifting gears in the recovery cycle. Growth is
slowing towards normal historical levels in the 5-6% range.
Relative weakness in developed markets is being offset by the
momentum of economic expansion in developing markets. We see a
strong end to 2010 that boosted the year's profit forecast to $15.1
billion. Slowing traffic growth is in line with our projections for
a reduced profit of $9.1 billion in 2011. That's a 1.5% margin.
More hard work will be needed in the New Year to achieve
sustainable levels of profitability," said Giovanni Bisignani,
IATA's Director General and CEO.
According to the IATA, the level of international air travel is
now 4% above the pre-recession peak of early 2008. All regions,
except Africa, reported a slowing in year-on-year growth rates from
October to November.
- Europe's carriers recorded 7.3% growth in passenger traffic,
below the 9.4% recorded in October. Overall travel performed by the
region's carriers is only slightly ahead of the pre-recession
levels of early 2008. In absolute terms there was a 1.7% fall in
traffic volumes for the region's carriers between October and
November. Industrial labor action and adverse weather conditions
particularly affected Europe's carriers at the very end of the
month. The impact of these will continue to be seen in December's
- North American carriers saw their growth slow from 12.4% in
October to 9.5% in November. Capacity growth in November was 9.5%,
resulting in a load factor of 78.1%, the highest among the regions.
November passenger traffic levels for North American carriers
equaled the pre-recession levels of early 2008.
- Asia-Pacific carriers saw their growth slow from 7.3% in
October to 5.8% in November. Capacity expanded relatively in tandem
(5.9%) for a load factor of 75.6%. Despite the region's strong
economic growth and financial performance, November traffic levels
were still 2% below pre-recession levels.
- Latin American carriers showed the most dramatic decline in
growth rates-from 4.9% in October to virtually zero in November.
The lingering impact of the Mexicana failure is the largest
contributing factor in this decline which resulted in a 2.1%
absolute contraction of travel performed by the region's carriers
between October and November. Adjusting figures to eliminate the
impact of Mexicana, the region would be experiencing growth in the
low double digits. The region's load factor stands at 77.5%.
- Middle East carriers saw their growth rate decline from 17.8%
in October to 16.7% in November. The region's carriers handled 16%
more traffic in November than at the pre-recession peak in early
2008, showing that they have gained market share over the course of
the recession and the recovery. The region recorded a load factor
of 74.3%, below the global average of 75.6%.
- African carriers were the only region to show an increase in
growth rates from October (12.6%) to November (16.4%). The region's
carriers moved 11% more travelers in November than they did at the
pre-recession peak in early 2008.
The report shows that the air freight recovery hit a peak in May
2010. Compared to that peak, volumes have fallen 7%. The volume of
air freight in November was equal to pre-recession levels of early
2008. IATA says November's year-on-year growth of 5.4% is a
significant shift from the 14.5% recorded in October. This was
exaggerated by the exceptionally strong performance in November
2009. In absolute terms, there was a 1.1% fall in freight volumes
from October to November. All regions, except Africa, showed
dramatic drops in year-on-year growth rates from October to
"The year-end holiday season has been tough for travelers and
for airlines. Exceptionally adverse weather conditions in Europe
and the US resulted in travel chaos. Passengers were
inconvenienced. Airlines saw lost revenues and saw costs rise. As
the backlogs of stranded passengers clear and the situation
normalizes, there are two opportunities that must not be lost. The
first is to learn and apply lessons from this difficult season so
that all stakeholders in the industry's infrastructure are better
prepared for future exceptional situations," said Bisignani.
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