November traffic rises +2.1% as Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East drive demand

INTERNATIONAL. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday reported a +2.1% year-on-year rise in international passenger traffic for November.

However, while passenger demand is +6.4% better than the low point reached in the first quarter of 2009, it is still -6% below the peak levels of early 2008, IATA said.

Passenger load factors remain at pre-crisis levels of 75.4%.

Giovanni Bisignani: “Demand continues to improve, but we still have a lot of ground to recover.”

The improvement trend for passenger traffic is being exaggerated by the sharp fall in demand experienced during the second half of 2008, IATA cautioned. Comparing to October (and adjusting for seasonality), passenger demand in November actually fell by -0.7%, primarily due to continued weakness in North America and Europe.

“Demand continues to improve, but we still have a lot of ground to recover,” said IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani.

“We cannot anticipate any significant improvement in yields in the coming months. So, conserving cash, controlling costs and carefully matching capacity to demand remain at the keys to survival.”

International passenger demand by region

Improvements in passenger traffic contain significant variances by region, IATA said.

In November, demand growth was recorded by carriers from Asia Pacific (+5.1%), Latin America (+8.2%) and the Middle East (+16.5%).

Asian traffic growth was driven most directly by economic recovery (with the exception of Japan), IATA said.

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It commented: “Asian economic growth is fuelling strong demand for commodities in both Latin America and Africa. While Latin American carriers are benefitting with business growth, a -2.1% fall in African traffic indicates a loss in market share. Middle East growth of 16.5% can also be related to the strength of Asia and the ability of Middle East carriers to facilitate connection traffic to the region through Middle Eastern hubs.”

European and North American carriers both experienced a -3.0% fall in November traffic. IATA said: “Unemployment concerns continue to negatively impact consumer confidence in both markets. Compared to last November, European carriers have cut capacity by -3.9% and North American carriers by -6.7%. While this has boosted load factors, capacity adjustments may also be weighing on growth rates.”


IATA is the global association for the airline industry. Its 230 member airlines generate 93% of scheduled international traffic.

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