ME carriers see air travel demand slow down in 2019.
Middle East carriers registered the slowest year-over-year international air traffic growth in 2019, down from 4.9 per cent growth in 2018.
However, demand began to recover in the fourth quarter and the monthly growth of 6.4 per cent in December led all regions. Annual capacity climbed 0.1 per cent and load factor surged 1.8 percentage points to 76.3 per cent, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
African airlines led the international air traffic growth across all regions in 2019, with a 5 per cent year-over-year increase, followed by Asia-Pacific airlines (up 4.5 per cent), European carriers (up 4.4 per cent), North American airlines (up 3.9 per cent), Latin American airlines (up 3 per cent), and Middle East carriers (up 2.6 per cent).
2019 international passenger traffic climbed 4.1 per cent compared to 2018, down from 7.1 per cent annual growth the year before. Capacity rose 3.0 per cent and load factor edged up 0.8 percentage point to 82.0 per cent.
Domestic air travel climbed 4.5 per cent in 2019, which was down from 7.8 per cent in 2018. All markets showed annual growth, led by China and Russia. Capacity rose 4.1 per cent and load factor was 83.7 per cent, up 0.4 per cent percentage point compared to 2018.
Full-year global passenger traffic results for 2019 showed that demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose by 4.2 per cent compared to the full year of 2018.
The 2019 result is a slowdown compared to 2018's annual growth of 7.3 per cent and marked the first year since the global financial crisis in 2009 with passenger demand below the long-term trend of around 5.5 per cent annual growth. Full-year 2019 capacity climbed 3.4 per cent, and the load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to a record high of 82.6 per cent. The previous high was 81.9 per cent set in 2018.
December 2019 RPKs increased 4.5 per cent against the same month in 2018. That was an improvement over the 3.3 per cent annual growth recorded in November, primarily due to solid demand in North America.
"Airlines did well to maintain steady growth last year in the face of a number of challenges. A softer economic backdrop, weak global trade activity, and political and geopolitical tensions took their toll on demand. Astute capacity management, and the effects of the 737 MAX grounding, contributed to another record load factor, helping the industry to manage through weaker demand and improving environmental performance," said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata's director general and CEO. - TradeArabia News Service
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