Global air travel stays on course for more growth
Global demand for air travel remains strong, with a continuing broad-based economic upturn next year boding well for the sector, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The organisation - which represents more than 270 airlines accounting for 83pc of global air passenger traffic - said that passenger demand jumped 7.2pc in October compared to October 2016, with demand in Europe rising 6.2pc year-on-year.
In Europe, capacity increased 4.5pc year-on-year in October, while the overall load factor was 1.3 percentage points higher at 84.9pc. The load factor represents the number of available seats filled.
"While economic conditions have shown strong improvement over the past year or so, the upward trend in seasonally-adjusted traffic has slowed considerably since May," the IATA noted. "This reflects the nature of international travel in the region, which is predominantly short-haul and hence, highly price-sensitive."
Yesterday, Ryanair said that its passenger numbers rose 6pc to 9.3 million in November, with its load factor one point higher at 96pc. The airline has run a number of seat sales to combat the fallout of its pilot rostering debacle. Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the increase in passenger numbers in November was due to lower fares.
Ryanair, whose chief executive is Michael O'Leary, pictured, carried 128.7m passengers in the 12 months to the end of November, an 11pc increase on the previous 12-month period.
IATA said the global air passenger performance in October was helped by a lack of weather-related impacts.
"As expected, the recent severe weather in the Americas region had only a temporary impact on the healthy travel demand we have seen this year, and we remain on course for another year of above-trend growth," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general. Mr de Juniac is the former chief executive of Air France-KLM.
In North America, traffic rose 3.7pc in October, better than the 3pc growth recorded in September when hurricanes affected travel plans.
Capacity in the region was 5.2pc higher, and the load factor fell 1.1 percentage points to 79.2pc. North America and Latin America were the only two global regions to record load factor declines in October.
IATA said there "continues to be indications" that inbound US travel is being deterred by the additional security measures now involved when travelling to the country.
Asia-Pacific was the growth leader in October, with passenger traffic growth of 10.3pc. Capacity in the region was 8.4pc higher, while the load factor was up 1.3 percentage points to 78pc.
Ireland gets its first ever direct air service to Asia next year, when Cathay Pacific launches a route from Dublin to Hong Kong.