The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has announced full-year global passenger traffic results for 2019 showing that demand, measured as Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) rose by 4.2 per cent, compared to the full year of 2018.
The 2019 result, IATA said is a slowdown compared to the 2018’s annual growth of 7.3 per cent and marked the first year since the global financial crisis in 2009 with passenger demand below the long-term trend of around 5.5 per cent annual growth. Full-year 2019 capacity climbed 3.4 per cent, and the load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to a record high of 82.6 per cent. The previous high was 81.9 per cent set in 2018.
A breakdown of the IATA report showed that African airlines led other regions of the world with a 5.0 per cent demand increase, down from 6.3 per cent growth recorded for 2018.
“Capacity of African airlines also rose 4.5 per cent, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to 71.3 per cent. African airlines benefitted from a generally supportive economic backdrop in 2019 as well as increases in air transport connectivity,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director-General and CEO.
“Airlines did well to maintain steady growth last year in the face of a number of challenges. A softer economic backdrop, weak global trade activity, and political and geopolitical tensions took their toll on demand. Astute capacity management, and the effects of the 737 MAX grounding, contributed to another record load factor, helping the industry to manage through weaker demand and improving environmental performance,” he added.