African airlines carried 3 pct share of international passengers in 2018

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African airlines got a share of three per cent from the 4.3 billion passengers carried by air transport on scheduled services in 2018.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation said international scheduled passenger traffic expressed in terms of revenue passenger-kilometres grew by 6.4 per cent in 2018, down from the strong 8.4 per cent recorded in 2017.

It stated that Africa recorded 6.5 per cent growth three per cent revenue passenger-kilometers.

The ICAO said all regions posted slower growth than last year, with the exception of an improvement in North America driven by the stronger US economy and continued international expansion of Canadian carriers while Latin America/Caribbean and Africa, accounted for the smallest RPK share of four per cent and three per cent, respectively

The organisation stated that the final official figures would be released in its 2018 annual report but that preliminary figures showed a total of 4.3 billion passengers were carried by air transport on scheduled services in 2018, indicating a 6.1 per cent increase over 2017.

According to the ICAO, the number of departures rose to approximately 38 million globally, and world passenger traffic grew solidly at 6.7 per cent and reached approximately 8.2 trillion RPKs performed.

It, however, added that the growth was a slowdown from the 7.9 per cent achieved in 2017.

“Over half of the world’s 1.4 billion tourists who travelled across international borders last year were transported by air, and that air transport now carries some 35 per cent of world trade by value. Indeed, around 90 per cent of cross border Business-to-Consumer e-commerce was carried by air transport,” the ICAO said.

“Air travel growth has eased in comparison to the strong upward trend seen in 2017. The stimulus of lower air fares to travel demand has reduced due to the higher fuel prices from the last two years, reflecting the moderation in growth momentum. However, air traffic growth remained solid in 2018, underpinned by the global economic conditions throughout the year,” it added.

The ICAO also stated that after the sharp pick-up in air freight growth during the inventory restocking in 2017, air cargo traffic growth moderated in 2018.

“This coincides with the softening demand drivers impacted by the trade tension and declining import and export orders. World scheduled freight traffic, measured in freight tonne-kilometres grew modestly by 4.5 per cent in 2018, compared to the 9.5 per cent recorded in 2017,” the organisation said.