Global passenger traffic up 7.2pc in Oct: IATA

Global passenger traffic up 7.2pc in Oct: IATA

"Recent severe weather in the Americas only had a temporary impact on the healthy travel demand we have seen this year", confirmed International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, "We remain on course for another year of above-trend growth". Overall revenues are seen rising 9.4% y-o-y to US$824 billion in 2018.

After declining for six years in a row, passenger yields, a measure of ticket pricing, are also expected to rise by 3% next year, after falling 1.5% in 2017.

In the Middle East, demand is expected to grow by 7.0 per cent in 2018, outpacing announced capacity expansion of 4.9 per cent (the slowest growth since 2002).

The price of jet fuel is forecast to jump nearly 13 percent, weighing on earnings at carriers with limited hedging, such as those in the US and China.The upgraded estimate for this year is still slightly below 2016's $34.8 billion earnings figure, but the 2018 prediction to $38.4 billion would represent a new industry high as passenger numbers top 4.3 billion.

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IATA said the forecast increase in passenger fares was in line with expected inflation. Cargo volume is expected to grow 4.5% y-o-y to 62.5 million tonnes.

In October, domestic air traffic in India grew by 20.4 percent, while it grew by 10 percent in China, 7.7 percent in Brazil, 6.1 percent in Russian Federation, 5.3 percent in the USA, 2.8 percent in Australia, and 2.3 percent in Japan.

An improvement in net margin to 4.7%, up from 4.6% in 2017.

Unique city pairs served by airlines grew to over 20,000 in 2017, +1,351 on 2016 and double the 10,000 city pairs served in 1996.

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Domestic markets have strengthened in China, India and Japan. Strong performance of the passenger business is supported by expected robust GDP growth of 3.1 per cent, the strongest since 2010. "Next year, we are expecting Brent crude to be around US$60 and jet fuel to be around US$74 a barrel". Labour costs are also rising to become a larger expense than fuel, at 30.9 per cent, according to the organisation.

"We believe industry profitability is on a more sustained path so even in weakened business conditions we think the industry will perform better than it has in the past because of the (load factor) gap", said Pearce, noting that while low oil prices have contributed, the load factor gap has been above breakeven level since before 2015.

For the first time, more than four billion passengers will be travelling this year, according to the aviation watchdog, and that number is expected to go up to 4.3 billion next year.

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