International scheduled air traffic posts +16.9% rise in first ten months of 2003 – 01/12/04

INTERNATIONAL. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported a +10.8% year-on-year increase in scheduled international traffic for October (measured in revenue per kilometres/RPKs).

The strong result took year-to-date traffic growth to +16.9% compared to the first ten months of 2003

In RPK terms, Africa was up +10.8% in October; Asia Pacific +12.4%; Europe +7.7%; the Middle East +13.7%; North America +12.1%; and South America +14.3%.

For the year-to-date, Africa is once again ahead by +10.8%; Asia Pacific by +23.6% (heavily influenced by the comparison with the SARS-hit period last year); Europe by +10.9%; the Middle East (impacted by the Iraq war last year) +27.2%; North America +16.2% and South America +13.3%.

“Despite a negative economic environment and continued uncertainty in the price of oil, international traffic is growing at breakneck speed. Unfortunately traffic growth and profitability do not always walk hand in hand and we still expect industry losses in excess of US$4 billion for this year,” said IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani.

“The sharply reduced value of the US dollar is changing some of the industry’s short-term dynamics,” he said. It is an incentive for travellers to visit the US at a time when many US carriers are re-deploying capacity from low-yielding domestic markets to higher yielding international routes. On the cost side, it improves the competitiveness of US carriers, but also provides some relief to non-US carriers battling the continuing extraordinary price of fuel.

Load factors averaged 74.6% for the first ten months of the year but yields continue to suffer from intense competition.

“Unpredictable economic factors continue to challenge and force change on the air transport industry. More than ever, a low cost base and the freedom to respond to dynamic market forces are critical,” said Bisignani. “As airlines struggle to end 2004 with a -2.5% reduction in non-fuel unit costs, IATA’s “˜Simplifying the Business’ initiative is the cornerstone for achieving even greater efficiencies.”

Over 450 airline representatives attending the recent Simplifying the Business Conference committed to achieve 100% e-ticketing by the end of 2007. E- ticketing alone will save the industry US$3 billion and is the lead item in an agenda to leverage technology to industry processes, improving service levels and reducing costs.


IATA notes strong growth in air traffic across all regions – 27/10/04

International passenger traffic surpasses 2000 levels – 27/08/04

IATA says passenger traffic improvement is “testimony to the resilience of air transport” – 29/06/04

IATA warns of chaos in US airports – 21/04/04

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