Global air passenger traffic surged 7.5% year-over-year in April, up 4.6 points from March, according to IATA’s Air Passenger Market Analysis. April’s RPK increase is 4.3 points higher than the 3.2% growth recorded in April 2013.
“The year-on-year comparison is positively biased by the timing of Easter, which occurred a month later than in 2013, boosting air travel in April 2014,” IATA said in a statement. “But even after adjusting for the Easter impact on April 2014 traffic … there was a rise in volumes.”
Overall capacity in April increased 5.8% year-over-year, delivering a total market passenger load factor of 79.4%, up 0.4 point from March’s load factor and increasing 1.3 points from April 2013’s 78.1% passenger load factor. April’s capacity topped March’s 5.3% ASK growth by 0.5 point. Contrasted with a year-ago, April 2013’s capacity grew by 1.4 points.
International passenger traffic worldwide increased 8.5% year-over-year in April—again, with Easter travel causing “an upward bias on the growth rates,” IATA said. Overall international capacity grew 6.9%, creating an international passenger load factor of 79%, up 1 point from March and exceeding April 2013’s international PLF by 2.6 points.
Airlines in the Middle East saw international travel demand increase 18.6% in April, up 7.7 points year-over-year; capacity in the region grew 13.1%, leading to a regional passenger load factor of 80.8%, up 1.3 points from March and up 4 points from April 2013.
All six world regions reported increases in international travel demand during April, largely attributable to the timing of the Easter holiday.
Global domestic passenger travel RPKs increased 5.8% year-over-year in April, compared to 4% in March. Overall domestic passenger capacity grew 3.9%, creating an overall domestic passenger load factor of 80.2%, down 0.3 point from March but up 1.6 points from April 2013.
Domestic travel demand in Brazil surged 11.1% year-over-year in April. Postulating Brazil’s domestic travel movement as a “positive [impact] of preparation for the FIFA World Cup,” IATA nonetheless noted “economic fundamentals do not support the acceleration seen so far.” Brazil’s April domestic capacity increased by just 2.1%, leading to a domestic passenger load factor of 79.1%—a 7.8 point leap from April 2013.
Strong domestic travel demand was also seen in the Russian Federation (up 10.3% year-over-year, with capacity growing 5%, leading to a domestic load factor of 74.7%, up 4.4 points from March) and in China (demand was up 9.9% year-over-year; capacity grew 9.8%. China’s resulting domestic passenger load factor came to 79.8%, the same as March). IATA indicated that “economic growth [was] significant enough in both countries to sustain strong expansion in domestic air travel.”