Nigeria, South Africa boost air traffic in Africa by 11% – IATA

Flags are seen at the 2016 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Dublin, Ireland June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced its global passenger traffic results for March 2018 showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 9.5 per cent, compared to the same month a year ago, the fastest pace in 12 months.

Capacity (available seat kilometres, or ASKs) grew 6.4 per cent and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4 per cent, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February.

“Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs – particularly fuel prices – suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Mr. Alexandre de Juniac.

According to the IATA report, African airlines continued to enjoy very strong demand in the month of March 2018 as well, with traffic up by 11.2 per cent compared to March 2017, which was more than twice the five-year average pace of 4.8 per cent. IATA linked the increase in local airline patronage to improvements in the economy of Nigeria and South Africa.

“Airlines here are seeing healthy growth on routes to/from Europe and Asia, while the region’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, continue to improve,” said Alexandre de Juniac.
“Capacity climbed 6.7 per cent and load factor strengthened 2.9 percentage points to 71.0 per cent,” he added.

European carriers saw March traffic climb 9.8 per cent over March 2017, up from 6.9 per cent annual growth in February. Middle East carriers’ traffic jumped 10.7 per cent in March, much improved from the 4.1 per cent year-over-year increase recorded in February.

“The strong first quarter provides healthy momentum heading into the peak travel period in the northern hemisphere. Benign economic conditions are supporting, and being supported by good demand for air travel,” said de Juniac.