By VICTOR NZE
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has disclosed that global passenger traffic for November 2017 rose by eight per cent, compared to the same month in 2016.
A statement signed by IATA’s Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, on its website on Thursday, noted that it was the fastest growth rate in five months and up from a 7.3 per cent year-over-year rise in October.
The apex aviation body said capacity increased by 6.3 per cent, and load factor rose by 1.2 percentage points to 80.2 per cent.
“The airline industry is in a good place entering 2018. November’s strong demand gives the industry momentum.
“The number of unique city-pair connections now tops 20,000. Passengers not only have more travel choices than ever, the cost of travel in real terms has never been cheaper. Along with delivering great value to consumers, airlines are rewarding their shareholders with normal levels of profitability.
“We expect 2018 to be the fourth year in a row where the industry’s return on invested capital will exceed the cost of capital. In sum, we begin the New Year with confidence,’’ de Juniac, said.
According to him, challenges such as security threats, infrastructure issues, fees and charges need to be addressed.
The DG pointed out that in many cases, airports and air traffic management were struggling to keep pace with demand and technology advancements.
“These and other challenges can only be addressed in partnership with governments. And doing so requires governments to recognise the enormous value that aviation, being the business of freedom, provides to their economies and the world,” de Juniac said.
He said African airlines posted a 7.9 rise in demand compared to November 2016.
de Juniac said: “Volumes have started to trend upwards strongly again in seasonally-adjusted terms in recent months. This is in line with an improvement in business confidence in key economies, including Kenya and Nigeria.
“Indicators in South Africa, by contrast, are still consistent with falling economic activity. Capacity rose 3.7 per cent and load factor climbed 2.7 percentage points to 68.3 per cent.’’
Meanwhile, demand for global air freight, measured in freight tonne kilometres, rose 8.8 per cent in November compared with a year earlier, according to IATA, Wednesday.
The rise in November puts the air cargo industry on track for the strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis rebound in 2010, IATA said.
The growth in freight demand, coinciding with the traditional period of strong demand seen in the fourth quarter, comes despite indicators pointing to air cargo having passed a cyclical peak.
Available capacity rose 4.0 per cent in the month, marking the 16th consecutive month of demand growth exceeding capacity growth, which is positive for industry load factors, yields, and financial performance.
Load factors increased by 2.2 percentage points to 49.1 per cent.
“There are several indicators that 2018 will be a good year as well.
“In particular, buoyant consumer confidence, the growth of international e-commerce and the broad-based global economic upturn are cause for optimism as we head into the New Year,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General, said.
The recently agreed US tax reform bill may also help to support freight volumes in the period ahead, IATA added.