INTERNATIONAL. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that passenger demand, measured by revenue passenger kilometres, grew +3.4% year on year in October.

“The airline industry has faced strong headwinds in 2019 but continues to enable the global connectivity that supports world trade and greater understanding among peoples and cultures,” IATA Director General & CEO Alexandre de Juniac says

The year-on-year growth was a modest slowdown from the +3.9% growth recorded in September and lower than historical growth levels, IATA Director General & CEO Alexandre de Juniac said. He added: “[This is] reflecting continued moderating economic activity in some key markets and sagging business confidence.”

Load factor climbed 0.9 percentage points to 82%, which is a record for October, and de Juniac added: “The fact that traffic is growing is a positive, and the industry continues to do an excellent job of maximising asset efficiency, as shown in the record load factor.”

International traffic for Asia Pacific airlines grew +3.8% in October 2019 compared to one year earlier. This growth was softer than the +4% growth seen in September and was a reflection of weaker business confidence in key markets, IATA said.

European airlines saw international demand increase +2.1% year on year, a softening of the +3.2% year on year growth in September. Middle Eastern airlines posted a +5.9% international traffic increase for October, a sharp increase on the +1.8% growth seen for September.

North American airlines have benefitted from a strong US economy and consumer spending, IATA said, as international demand for October grew +4.1% year on year.

However, Latin American airlines suffered their weakest month for nine years as demand dropped -0.6% compared to October 2018. IATA said this was caused by deteriorating economic conditions and rising political unrest in key markets.

International traffic for African airlines grew +1.8% year on year, the same rate as growth in September.

Finally, overall demand for domestic travel grew +3.6% year on year in October. This was slower than the +5.1% growth of September and came because of softer performance in the US and China.

Combined domestic and international traffic demand measured by revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) and load factor measured by available seat kilometres (ASK)

De Juniac concluded: “The airline industry has faced strong headwinds in 2019 but continues to enable the global connectivity that supports world trade and greater understanding among peoples and cultures, things we can definitely use more of, particularly in this time of trade wars and geopolitical tension.”