The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports international scheduled traffic results for November showed 8.2% year-on-year passenger traffic growth, down from a 10% increase recorded in October. The passenger load factor averaged 75.6% for November.
The slowdown in 2010 is partially skewed because of the exceptionally rapid rise in traffic volumes recorded during the fourth quarter of 2009. However, when viewed in absolute terms, air travel fell by 0.8% between October and November 2010. This slower growth does not necessarily signal a negative trend, however, says IATA. Even with the decline in November, passenger traffic is still expanding at annualized rates of between 5-6% which is in line with the industry’s historical growth trend.
“The industry is shifting gears in the recovery cycle. Growth is slowing towards normal historical levels in the 5-6% range. Relative weakness in developed markets is being offset by the momentum of economic expansion in developing markets,” says IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani. “We see a strong end to 2010 that boosted the year’s profit forecast to US$15.1 billion. Slowing traffic growth is in line with our projections for a reduced profit of US$9.1 billion in 2011. That’s a 1.5% margin. More hard work will be needed in the New Year to achieve sustainable levels of profitability.” The level of international air travel is now 4% above the pre-recession peak of early 2008. All regions, except Africa, reported a slowing in year-on-year growth rates from October to November.