Friday 23 August 2019

Brexit is weighing on airline passenger demand

Paradox: IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac
Paradox: IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

BREXIT and wider global uncertainties are weighing on global passenger demand for air travel, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

But it said that European airlines are still performing strongly in terms of passenger demand, which IATA added is a "paradox" given the imminent departure of the UK from the European Union.

The association said yesterday the rate of growth of revenue passenger kilometres has slowed to its slowest level in a year, at 5.4pc in February.

EasyJet warned this week that Brexit uncertainty was contributing to weaker demand and a consequent softening in ticket yields.

But IATA said that the February growth figure was in line with long-term trends. It added that the global average load factor - or the percentage of available seats sold - among airlines during February dipped 0.1 percentage points to 80.6pc.

European carriers were still the strongest performers globally in February, according to the IATA figures. Passenger demand in the region rose 7.6pc in the month.

"Europe's continuing strong performance provides a paradox given Brexit concerns and signs of a softer economic outlook," according to IATA.

Capacity in the region jumped 8pc, and while the load factor in Europe slipped 0.3 percentage points to 82.3pc, it was still the best performance of any other region.

"The Brexit deadline has come and gone with no separation agreement, but with vital air connectivity between the UK and the continent maintained for the present," said IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac.

"Temporary measures, however, are no substitute for a comprehensive Brexit package that will ensure that the business of freedom is able to play its vital role in contributing to the well-being of the region-and the world," he added.

Irish Independent

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