The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently announced an increase in figures pertaining to global passenger traffic in May, implying that demand rose 4.5% compared to May 2018. Even though this is good news because it is in line with formerly predicted figures (4.4%), it is however still below the estimated twenty-year average growth rate of around 5.5%. Capacity rose to 2.7%, while load factor rose from 80.1% to 81.5% year on year (a rise of 1.4 percentage points).
According to IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, “passenger demand growth has slowed compared to the past two years. This is in line with slumping global trade, rising trade tensions and weakening business confidence. In this challenging environment, airlines are managing capacity carefully in order to optimize efficiency.”
In line with the general growth recorded, Africa witnessed a 2.1% traffic rise in May, which is an improvement from last year’s 1.1% growth. Load factor increased to 67.0% (an increase of 1.3 percentage points), while capacity climbed by 0.1%. Despite these figures, coupled with the rapid increase in traffic registered between Africa and Europe, economic growth in South Africa stood as a sharp contrast in the first quarter, negatively impacting passenger demand.
The negative impacts on growth of extensive airspace closures as a result of political tensions have led to less efficient routings, increased carbon emissions and higher operating costs. To improve on this situation, de Juniac pinpointed the need for governments to curtail airspace closures so as to permit the aviation industry to serve the people as proficiently as possible.