Passenger Demand Increase Continues in 2013

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) global air travel demand
statistics for January show a continuation of the upturn in passenger travel that began at the end of 2012.  Overall, demand was up 2.7% on the previous January which is slightly ahead of the 2.2% expansion in capacity.  Average load factors stood at 77.1%.
IATA says strong demand for air travel driven by the Chinese New Year holiday period has distorted the January figures.  In 2012 the Chinese New Year fell in January 2012 but this year it fell in February.  IATA notes comparing the strong January 2012 figures to those of this year made January 2013 demand look weaker than the underlying trend would indicate.  After adjusting for such seasonal factors, IATA estimates that the actual growth would have been 3.5%.  This growth is still lower than the 5.3% 2012 average.  However, IATA explains air travel growth slowed sharply through the year and the results of the past few months represent an acceleration of demand growth.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO commented: “Passenger travel is growing in line with business confidence levels.  Recent months have seen some positive economic signs emerge in both the US and China, and the Eurozone crisis seems to have stabilised.  Of course risks remain; the impact of US budget cuts has yet to play out and fuel prices are high.  But even with those headwinds—real and potential—we still see underlying support for continued and potentially even strengthened growth.”