African air traffic soars by 11.7% amid global demand surge
Air traffic demand in Nigeria and other African countries improved by 11.7 per cent in June as part of the global upsurge of 5.0 per cent compared to June 2018.The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) global passenger traffic results for June 2019 showed a steady improvement from 5.1 per cent in May. Capacity rose 7.7 per cent, and load factor jumped 2.6 percentage points to 70.5 per cent.
IATA observed that the demand is benefitting from a generally supportive economic backdrop, including improved economic stability in several countries, as well as increased air connectivity.
The 5.0 per cent global rise is up slightly from the 4.7 per cent year-over-year growth recorded in May. June capacity increased by 3.3 per cent, and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 84.4 per cent, which was a record for the month of June.IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac, said June continued the trend of solid passenger demand growth while the record load factor shows that airlines are maximising efficiency.
“Amid continuing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and rising economic uncertainty in other regions, growth was not as strong as a year ago, however,” de Juniac said.June international passenger demand rose 5.4 per cent compared to June 2018, which was an improvement from 4.6 per cent annual growth recorded in May. All regions recorded increases in growth, led by airlines in Africa. Capacity rose 3.4 per cent, and load factor climbed 1.6 percentage points to 83.8 per cent.
European airlines saw traffic rise 5.6 per cent in June compared to June 2018, in line with 5.5 per cent demand growth the month before. Capacity climbed 4.5 per cent and load factor rose 1.0 per cent percentage point to 87.9 per cent, tied with North America as the highest among the regions. The solid growth occurred against a backdrop of slowing economic activity and declining business confidence in the Euro area and UK.
Middle Eastern carriers posted an 8.1 per cent demand increase in June compared to the same month last year, which was well up on the 0.6 per cent annual increase recorded in May. The timing of Ramadan which fell almost exclusively in May this year likely contributed to the strongly contrasting outcomes. Capacity rose 1.7 per cent and load factor jumped 4.5 percentage points to 76.6 per cent.
“The peak summer travel season in the Northern Hemisphere is upon us. Crowded airports are a reminder of the vital role aviation plays in connecting people and commerce. For those traveling on journeys of discovery or reuniting with loved ones, aviation is the business of freedom. But aviation relies on borders that are open to trade and people to deliver its benefits.
“Ongoing trade disputes are contributing to declining global trade and slowing traffic growth. These developments are not helpful to the global economic outlook. Nobody wins a trade war,” said de Juniac.
President of the National Association of Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bernard Bankole, said foreign airlines were the beneficiaries of the current traffic upsurge – on account of having Sallah and summer holidays coincide at the same period.Bankole said “the unusual period” implies huge traffic, but “our (local) airlines are never ready to make most of such opportunities” given the spate of flight delays.