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IATA: Global passenger travel market growth at 4.7% year-to-date

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Published: December 24, 2015

Global international passenger traffic increased 4.5% year-over-year (YOY) in October, according to IATA’s October Premium Traffic Monitor. Economy class traffic growth was up 4.6% YOY in October; premium traffic increased 3.9% YOY.

Year-to-date, premium travel has increased 4% YOY; economy traffic has grown 4.8% YOY. Total traffic growth is up 4.7% YOY as of Oct. 31. At the same point last year, the total traffic market had grown 3.6% for the year, compared to 2013.

The airline travel trend in 2015 has thus far “been broadly positive in both travel classes, and in fact growth in economy class has been relatively stronger,” IATA said in its analysis, citing recent low fares as a boon for economy travel and weakness in business confidence as a drag on premium travel.

“However, weakness in air travel [within the] Far East market [has] been placing downward pressure on the industry growth trend,” IATA said. “Slower than expected growth in China and weak trade activity have translated to declines in international air travel growth in the region.”

Routes within North America had the strongest economy traffic growth in October (up 20.9 YOY), followed by North America-Central America routes (up 11.2%), Mid-Atlantic routes (up 9.6% YOY), South Pacific routes (up 9% YOY) and North and Mid-Pacific routes (up 7.7% YOY). Declines in October economy traffic were seen on Africa-Far East routes (down 12.9% YOY) and Middle East-Far East routes (down 1.3% YOY).

International premium traffic accounted for 5.5% of October’s total traffic and 25.4% of the month’s total revenue.

As with economy travel, routes within North America showed the biggest increase in premium travel, rising 11.9% YOY. “It is not clear if the US economy has recovered adequately from the recession to tolerate an increase in interest rates,” IATA said. “[But] indicators continue to suggest that improvements are on track, which bodes well for air travel demand.”

Other significant increases for international premium passenger travel in October were seen on South Pacific routes (up 10.4% YOY), Europe-Middle East routes (up 7.6% YOY), North Atlantic routes (up 6.9% YOY) and routes within Europe (up 6.4% YOY). October declines in premium traffic occurred on Africa-Far East routes (down 18% YOY), South Atlantic routes (down 2.7% YOY) and routes within Africa (down 1.5% YOY).

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