By Chinedu Eze
African airlines recorded 11.2 per cent in March 2018, indicating the regional carriers currently enjoy very strong demand compared to the same period last year.
The International Air transport Association (IATA) said this is more than twice the five-year average pace of 4.8 per cent, noting that airlines in Africa are seeing healthy growth on routes to/from Europe and Asia, while the region’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa continue to improve.
According to IATA, capacity climbed 6.7 per cent, and load factor strengthened 2.9 percentage points to 71.0 per cent.
IATA said global passenger traffic results for March 2018 showed that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 9.5 per cent, compared to the same month a year ago, the fastest pace in 12 months. The world body noted that capacity (available seat kilometers, or ASKs) grew 6.4 per cent and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4 per cent, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February. All regions except for the Middle East posted record load factors.
“Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs–particularly fuel prices–suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
March international passenger demand rose 10.6 per cent compared to March 2017, which was up from 7.4 per cent year-over-year growth recorded in February.
IATA said all regions showed strong increases and total capacity climbed 6.6 per cent, and load factor improved 2.9 percentage points to 81.5 per cent.