IATA: July passenger, freight traffic slows further

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Published: September 1, 2012

Air traffic growth in both the passenger and freight sectors slowed further in July, although there was considerable variation by region and market, according to IATA’s recent global traffic report.

July passenger demand was 3.4% higher year-over-year, but lower than the 6.3% increase recorded in June and average growth of 6.5% for the first half. IATA attributed this slowdown to the recent decline in business confidence.

July freight demand was 3.2% lower than the year-ago month, and down on June’s 0.1% year-on-year growth rate. IATA said that, although much of this could be attributed to the comparison with a relatively strong July last year, “the overall trend in airfreight is weak, in line with subdued world trade growth.”

According to IATA, load factors have generally been kept high through measured capacity growth, with 3.6% passenger capacity increases in July keeping pace with traffic growth. As a result, the load factor remained at “a relatively high 83.1%,” it said.

In the international sector, passenger demand was up 3.5% in July compared to the year-ago period, exactly in line with a 3.5% expansion in capacity. Load factor remained high at 83.3%.

However, IATA pointed out that “the slowdown becomes evident when comparing to the previous month [June] when the year-on-year rate was 7.5%.

The downward trend in the domestic passenger sector, which began early this year, continued in July with a 3.1% year-on-year increase but down from 4.2% in June. However, IATA stressed the slowdown “was not universal, with China and Brazil recording strong growth that was offset by weakness in India and Japan.”

IATA DG and CEO Tony Tyler said: “The uncertain economic outlook is having a negative impact on demand for air transport. The cargo business is 3.2% smaller than it was a year ago. And passenger markets—with the exception of Africa, China-domestic and the Middle East—saw demand fall from June to July. Overall passenger demand is still up 3.4% on the previous July. But the growth trend is clearly slowing. This, along with rising fuel prices, is likely to make it a tough second half of the year.”

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