The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that in 2014 the Middle East carriers had an annual passenger traffic growth of13 percent — the highest in the world.
Capacity rose 11.9 percent and load factor climbed 0.8 percentage points to 78.1 percent, said IATA in a statement released on Friday, 6 February. The global passenger traffic results for the full year of 2014 showed demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 5.9 percent compared to the full year of 2013. This 2014 performance was above the 10-year average growth rate of 5.6 per cent and the 5.2 percent annual growth experienced in 2013 compared to 2012.
“Demand for the passenger business did well in 2014. Carriers in the Middle East posted double-digit growth while results in Africa were barely above previous-year levels,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Global air passenger capacity rose 5.6 percent last year; with the result that load factor climbed 0.2 percentage points to 79.7 percent. All regions saw demand grow in 2014. More than half of the growth in passenger travel occurred on airlines in emerging markets including Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East. In recent months domestic market growth played a large role in driving growth. This is owed mainly to a pickup in Chinese domestic travel which expanded by some 11 percent in 2014 over the previous year.
“Overall a record 3.3 billion passengers boarded aircraft last year — some 170 million more than in 2013. While it is clear that people will continue to travel in growing numbers, there have been signs in recent months that softening business confidence is translating into a leveling off of international travel demand,” said Tyler.
International passenger traffic rose 6.1 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Capacity rose 6.4 percent and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage points to 79.2 percent. Asia Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 5.8 percent compared to 2013, which was the largest increase among the three biggest regions. However, traffic has been broadly flat over the past four months or so amid signs of a slowdown in regional production activity, although trade volumes have remained strong. Capacity rose 7 percent pushing down load factor 1.1 percentage points to 76.9 percent.
European carriers’ international traffic climbed 5.7 percent in 2014. Capacity rose 5.2 percent and load factor rose 0.6 percentage points 81.6 percent. Robust travel on low fare airlines as well as airlines registered in Turkey offset economic weakness and risks in the region.
North American airlines saw demand rise 3.1 percent in 2014 over 2013. Among developed economies, the US is the standout performer. Capacity rose 4.6 percent, dropping load factor 1.1 percentage points to 81.7 percent.
In Latin America traffic rose 5.8 percent with capacity up by 4.7 percent. African airlines experienced the slowest annual demand growth, up 0.9 percent compared to 2013. With capacity up 3 percent load factor fell 1.5 percentage points to 67.5 percent.