Overall global passenger traffic increased 6.2% year-over-year in May, down 1.4 point from April’s 7.6% growth, according to IATA’s May Air Passenger Market Analysis report. “While this represented a deceleration compared to April … the performance is indicative of improving demand drivers,” IATA said.
2014’s five-month 6.2% traffic growth is a marked improvement on 2013’s comparative January-May 4.3% growth. This May’s RPK growth is 0.6 point higher than the 5.6% growth reported in May 2013.
Total capacity in May increased 5.2% year-over-year, delivering a total market passenger load factor of 79%, down 0.4 point from April’s load factor but up 0.9 point from May 2013’s 78.1% passenger load factor. May’s 5.2% capacity growth slipped 0.6 point from April; compared to May 2013, capacity growth was identical.
“We are seeing healthy demand for air traffic to support and help sustain the pick-up in global economic activity,” IATA DG and CEO Tony Tyler said.
International passenger traffic worldwide increased 7% year-over-year in May. Overall international capacity grew 6%, resulting in a passenger load factor of 78.1%, down 0.9 point from April but up 1.1 point from May 2013.
Middle East airlines had the largest growth in international travel demand, up 13.2% year-over-year; capacity in the region grew 6.9%, creating a regional passenger load factor of 78%, down 2.8 points from April but up 4.5 points from May 2013.
Asia-Pacific airlines reported the largest increase in international travel demand among the three biggest regions—up 7.3% year-over-year, with capacity in the region up 7.5%, resulting in a regional passenger load factor of 74.1%, down 1.6 points from April and consistent with May 2013’s 74.1% PLF.
Global domestic passenger travel RPKs increased 4.6% year-over-year in May, compared to 5.8% in April. Overall domestic passenger capacity was up 3.8%, leading to a total domestic passenger load factor of 80.6%, up 0.4 point from April and besting March 2013’s PLF by0.7 point.
Domestic air travel growth was robust in Russia (up 13.2% year-over-year) and China (up 9.4%). Economic growth was “substantial enough in both countries to sustain strong expansion in domestic air travel,” IATA said.