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African airlines' traffic soars - IATA

Aug 06 2017 19:03

Cape Town - African airlines’ traffic soared 9.9% in June, according to the latest passenger report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Capacity rose 7.1%, and the load factor jumped 1.7 percentage points to 64.3%, although this still was the lowest among all the regions.

"Conditions in the region’s two largest economies have continued to diverge, with business confidence in Nigeria rising sharply in recent months, while South Africa’s economy fell into recession in the first quarter," explained the report.

Globally demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose by 7.8% compared to the year-ago period. This was in line with the 7.7% growth recorded in May.

All regions reported growth. June capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 6.5%, and load factor rose 1.0 percentage point to 81.9%.

For the first six months of 2017, the industry experienced a 12-year high in traffic growth (7.9%) and a record first half load factor of 80.7%.

"A brighter economic picture and lower airfares are keeping demand for travel strong. But as costs rise, this stimulus of lower fares is likely to fade. And uncertainties such as Brexit need to be watched carefully. Nonetheless, we still expect 2017 to see above-trend growth," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

Air travel recorded its fastest first-half growth in 12 years, pushing load factors to record highs. And the peak northern summer travel season is likely to be record-breaking.
 
"This is all good news. The demand for travel is strong and that, in turn, will make a positive contribution to the global economy. This growth will also further expose infrastructure deficiencies. In every part of the world airport and air navigation infrastructure is struggling to cope with demand," said De Juniac.

"There are plenty of examples linking connectivity and economic prosperity. But few governments have been able to deliver on the imperatives of sufficient capacity, quality aligned with user needs and affordability. This year’s strong growth is a reminder that there is no time to lose."

As for air cargo, IATA reported that African carriers had the fastest growth in year-on-year freight volumes, up 31.6% in June 2017 and a capacity increase of 7.6%.

This contributed to freight demand growing 25.9% in the first half of 2017 – the fastest of all regions.

Demand has been boosted by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia which have increased by nearly 60% in the first five months of 2017.

Capacity grew 11.2% in the first half of the year. Seasonally adjusted growth has levelled off in recent months; however growth is set to remain in double digits for the remainder of 2017.

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