By VICTOR NZE
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has disclosed that African airlines recorded a 7.5 increase in passenger traffic in 2017 compared to 2016.
Director-General of IATA, MrAlexandre de Juniac, who made this known in a statement, Thursday, posted on its website, said that the capacity of African airlines rose at less than half the rate of demand (3.6 per cent), while load factor jumped from 2.5 percentage points to 70.3 per cent.
“While indicators in South Africa are consistent with falling economic output, Nigeria has returned to growth, helped by the recent rise in oil prices,’’ he said.
According to de Juniac, global passenger traffic statistics for 2017 showed a 7.6 increase compared to 2016, which was well above the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent.
He said the rate of demand growth slowed to 6.2 per cent in December 2017, compared to December 2016, which was largely owing to less favorable comparisons to the even stronger growth trend seen in the year-ago period.
“The year 2017 got off to a very strong start and largely stayed that way throughout the year, sustained by a broad-based pick-up in economic conditions.
“While the underlying economic outlook remains supportive in 2018, rising cost inputs, most notably fuel, suggest we are unlikely to see the same degree of demand stimulation from lower fares that occurred in the first part of 2017,’’ de Juniac said.
According to him, in 2017, more than four billion passengers used aviation to reunite with friends and loved ones, to explore new worlds, to do business, and to take advantage of opportunities to improve themselves.
The IATA boss said the connectivity provided by aviation enabled goods to get to markets, and aid to be delivered to those in need.
“Aviation truly is the business of freedom, liberating us from the restraints of geography to lead better lives.
“Aviation can do even more in 2018, if supported by governments that recognise and support our activities with smarter regulation, fairer taxation, cost efficient infrastructure and borders that are open to people and trade,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, IATA, in its just released full-year 2017 data for global air freight markets indicates that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) grew by 9.0 percent, representing a more than double the 3.6 percent annual growth recorded in 2016.
This is as African carriers’ posted the fastest growth in year-on-year freight volumes, up 15.6 percent in December 2017 and a capacity increase of 7.9 percent.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 3.0 percent in 2017. This was the slowest annual capacity growth seen since 2012. Demand growth outpaced capacity growth by a factor of three.
Air cargo’s strong performance in 2017 was sealed by a solid result in December. Year-on-year demand growth in December increased 5.7percent. This was less than half the annual growth rate seen during the middle of 2017 but still well above the five-year average of 4.7 percent. Freight capacity grew by 3.3percent year-on-year in December.