Africa’s national carriers continued their recovery with February traffic up 7.1 per cent compared to a year ago.
This mainly reflects the upturn on the key route to/from Europe, offsetting struggles in the region’s biggest economies of Nigeria and South Africa. Capacity rose 2.3 per cent, and load factor jumped 2.9 percentage points to 66.0 per cent.
This is coming as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for February showing a second month of strong demand growth to begin 2017.
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 4.8 per cent, compared to the same month last year.
Although this was below growth achieved in January, year-to-year comparisons are distorted because February 2016 was a leap month. Adjusting for the one fewer day this year, the underlying growth rate was estimated at 8.6 per cent, just under January’s increase of 8.9 per cent.
Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 2.7 per cent, and load factor rose 1.6 percentage points to 79.5 per cent, which was the highest ever recorded for February.
“The strong demand momentum from January has continued, supported by lower fares and a healthier economic backdrop. Although we remain concerned over the impact of any travel restrictions or closing of borders, we have not seen the attempted US ban on travel from six countries translate into an identifiable traffic trend. Overall travel demand continues to grow at a robust rate,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
IATA estimates that allowing for inflation, the price of air travel has fallen by more than 10 per cent in real terms over the past year, accounting for more than half the growth in RPKs in early 2017.