INTERNATIONAL. Global passenger traffic demand grew +7.8% year-on-year in June, as measured in total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs).

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) noted that the monthly increase was greater than the +6% growth recorded in both May and April.

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“The first half of 2018 concluded with another month of above-trend demand growth, which is a good indicator for the peak summer travel season in the northern hemisphere,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

“But the looming prospect of a global trade war is casting a long shadow. Additionally, rising cost inputs – fuel prices have soared by approximately 60% over the past year – are reducing the stimulus of lower fares.”

Alexandre de Juniac: “The looming prospect of a global trade war is casting a long shadow.”

International passenger demand rose +7.7% compared to June 2017. All regions recorded growth, IATA said, led by airlines in the Middle East and Africa.

Traffic in Asia Pacific increased +9.5%, up from the +7.7% growth recorded in May. “Demand is being stimulated by robust regional economic growth and increased city-pair options for travellers,” the association said.

In the Middle East, airlines posted a +11% increase in traffic. This represents a sharp turnaround from the flat traffic growth in May, which was partly attributable to the timing of Ramadan between the two years. Results were also affected by unfavourable developments in the year-ago period, including the ban on large portable electronic devices, as well as the travel restrictions imposed by the USA for visitors from certain Middle East and African countries.

European carriers saw traffic rise +6.1% in June. This was down slightly from the +6.3% increase recorded in May. “Growth is supported by a relatively healthy economic backdrop,” IATA said. “However, the possibility of air traffic control strikes could affect growth over the coming months.”

Air passenger volumes.
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Demand in North America increased +5.9%, an improvement on the +5% growth recorded in May. IATA noted that increasing momentum in the US economy was supporting growth in passenger volumes, but said prospects of further escalation in trade disputes could affect future demand.

Latin American airlines experienced a +5.6% rise in traffic compared to the same month last year. This was down from the +7.9% growth seen in May, and IATA said there were “some possible indications” of a slowing in demand growth.

Air passenger volume growth and global composite business confidence measure.
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African airlines’ traffic soared +10.9% in June, up substantially from the +2.1% growth recorded in May. The increase partly reflects volatility in the monthly data. The association noted that higher oil and commodity prices were buoying the economies in a number of countries, including Nigeria.

Demand for domestic travel climbed +7.9% in June, up from the +6.7% annual growth seen in May. India and China again led the way with double-digit gains. IATA said all markets reported demand increases, but with wide variation.

International passenger traffic growth by airline region of registration.
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Brazil’s domestic traffic rose +5.3%, up from +3.8% in May. Despite the improved performance, demand was still affected by the residual impact of the recent general strikes.

Japan’s domestic traffic climbed +3.7%, compared to the +1.7% growth recorded in May. IATA noted “possible indications of a softening economic backdrop going forward”.