The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday said African airlines recorded an 11. 2 per cent increase in passenger traffic in March compared to the same period last year.
A statement by IATA’s Director General, Mr Alexandre de Juniac, on its website, said African airlines continued to enjoy very strong demand.
He said the 11.2 per cent increase was more than twice the five-year average pace of 4.8 per cent.
“Airlines here are seeing healthy growth on routes to and from Europe as well as Asia, while the region’s two largest economies — Nigeria and South Africa — continue to improve.
“Capacity climbed 6.7 per cent and load factor strengthened 2.9 percentage points to 71.0 per cent,” de Juniac added.
According to him, global passenger traffic results for March 2018 showed that demand rose 9.5 per cent, compared to the same month a year ago and the fastest pace in 12 months.
He said capacity grew 6.4 per cent and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4 per cent, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February.
“Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels.
“But rising cost inputs, particularly fuel prices, suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter,” de Juniac said.
He said the strong first quarter provided healthy momentum heading into the peak travel period in the Northern Hemisphere.
According to the IATA boss, benign economic conditions are supporting and being supported by good demand for air travel.
“It’s a mutually-beneficial effect that smart governments recognise and encourage by embracing affordable, quality aviation infrastructure and reasonable commercial regulation.”