By Chinedu Eze
African airlines saw January traffic rise 5.1 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent in December.
However, concerns have continued about the region’s largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria.
This was disclosed in the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s global passenger traffic results for January 2019, showing traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 6.5 per cent compared to January 2018.
IATA, noted that this was the fastest growth in six months. January capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) rose 6.4 per cent, and load factor inched up 0.1 percentage point to 79.6 per cent.
“2019 has started on a positive note, with healthy passenger demand in line with the 10-year trend line. However, market signals are mixed, with indications of weakening business confidence in developed economies and a more nuanced picture across the developing world,” IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac said.
International passenger demand rose 6.0 per cent in January compared to the same month last year, which was up from a 5.3 per cent rise in December year-over-year. All regions recorded growth, led by Europe for a fourth consecutive month. Capacity increased 5.8 per cent and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage point to 79.8 per cent.
European carriers’ international traffic climbed 7.7 per cent in January compared to the year-ago period, down from an 8.6 per cent annual increase in December. This moderation reflected uncertainty over the region’s economic situation, including lack of clarity over Brexit. Capacity rose 8.8 per cent and load factor fell 0.9 percentage point to 80.3 per cent.
Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 7.1 per cent compared to January 2018, solidly above the 5.0 per cent growth in December.
Capacity also rose by 5.1 per cent, and load factor surged 1.5 percentage points to 81.7 per cent, second highest among the regions. Healthy regional growth is being underpinned by rising incomes and an increase in the number of airport pairs.