Demand for air transport continued to flatten-out out in August, but with significant regional variations, accord to latest Iata statistics.
While demand was up by 5.1% over the same month last year, this was attributed to a “positive distortion” due to the timing of Ramadan.
Adjustment for such seasonal fluctuations reveals that passenger demand has been “basically flat” since June and with only a 1.2% expansion since January, according to Iata.
Despite recession conditions in Europe, airlines in the region have continued to expand on international routes, growing capacity by 4.4%. Load factors rose marginally to 84.9% and passenger numbers grew by 5.6%, ahead of 4.7% in July.
Iata chief executive and director general Tony Tyler (pictured) said: “Passenger markets have not grown since June and global air freight volumes are below previous year levels.
“In the face of these adverse conditions, disciplined capacity management has kept load factors high.
“There are always opportunities and some parts of the world are growing. But, overall, trading conditions are tough.”
He added: “Sluggish growth in the US, the continuing sovereign debt crisis in Europe and concerns over the slowdown in the Chinese economy are taking their toll on both business and consumer confidence.
“Airlines have responded with, among other things, careful capacity management.
“While global passenger traffic was up 5.1% on the previous August, capacity increases trailed with a 4.1% expansion.”
“Along with this, conserving cash and controlling costs are the focus of most airlines as they await more favourable economic conditions,” said Tyler.