Air passenger numbers grew at the fastest rate in years in the six months to June, airline association Iata has reported.

Global passenger numbers grew by 7.9% year on year on year – the fastest first-half growth since 2005.

All regions registered passenger growth except the Middle East. However, Iata warned: “Industry drivers indicate the best of the cyclical growth upturn may have passed.”

The association noted demand had been driven by “stimulus from lower airfares” as well as “a brighter economic backdrop”.

The number of airline seats on sale worldwide was up 6% year on year in June, with the standard aviation-capacity measure of available seat kilometres (ASKs) up only slightly more at 6.1%.

Iata said passenger yields had “started to trend upwards” for the first time since 2013.

Global freight volumes were up 10.4% on 2016 in the half year, the highest rate of increase since 2010, reflecting the economic pick-up.

Iata reported airlines’ second-quarter financial results were “more robust” as a consequence, suggesting “a squeeze on profit margins from higher costs and weak yields peaked in the first quarter”.

It reported average passenger load factors also at a near record high and noted the pick-up in global trade “is helping to support premium passenger demand, particularly to, from and within the Asia Pacific”.

However, Iata’s latest Airlines Financial Monitor also reported “a wide spread in premium performance”, noting: “Premium demand has been relatively weaker in other cases, notably between Europe and the Middle East.”

Iata reported the delivery of 154 new aircraft around the world in June and 751 in the first half of the year.

Another 142 aircraft were brought into service from storage, with just 78 taken out of service.


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