By M Hafidz Mahpar
PETALING JAYA - Global passenger traffic, as measured by revenue passenger km (RPKs), grew by 7.1 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in January 2016
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement that January capacity rose 5.6 per cent, resulting in a 1.1 percentage point increase in load factor to 78.8 per cent. This was the highest load factor ever recorded for the first month of the year.
RPK measures actual passenger traffic, calculated by multiplying the number of paying passengers by the distance traveled.
Load factor is the percentage of available seat-kilometres used.
IATA director-general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite the recent turmoil in equity markets.
“The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth,” he said.
Asia-Pacific accounted for the highest world share (31.5 per cent) of total passenger traffic last year in terms of RPKs.
January international passenger traffic rose 7.3 per cent in January 2016 compared with a year earlier. All regions recorded y-o-y increases in demand.
Asia-Pacific carriers registered a jump of 10.3 per cent compared with January 2015. Capacity rose 7.6 per cent, pushing up load factor 2 percentage points to 79.2 per cent.
“A 7.3 per cent increase in the number of direct airport connections within the Asia region over the past 12 months or so has helped to stimulate demand,” IATA said.
Domestic air travel, meanwhile, rose 6.8 per cent in January y-o-y.
IATA represents some 260 airlines, which account for 83 per cent of global air traffic.