The International Air Transport Association has released figures for March 2017 which indicate that passenger traffic ended on a strong note at the end of the first quarter. Demand in measured in RPKs rose 6.8% compared to March 2016, capacity grew 6.1% and load factor increased by one half of a percent to 80.4%, which was also a record for the month.
According to IATA Director General, Alexandre de Juniac, “Strong traffic demand continued throughout the first quarter, supported by a combination of lower fares and a broad-based upturn in global economic conditions. The price of air travel has fallen by around 10% in real terms over the past year and that has contributed to record load factors. We will have to wait another month to see the impact of the laptop ban on demand.”
De Juniac added that “The first quarter results are strong. But the last weeks have been challenging to the passenger business. The laptop ban—implemented with next to no notice, no dialogue and no coordination, is testing public confidence in how governments and industry work together to keep flying secure. So, even as rumors persist that the ban will be expanded to other airports and regions, we are calling on governments to work with the industry to find alternatives—to keep flying secure without such great inconvenience to our passengers.”
March international passenger demand rose 6.4% compared to March 2016, which was a slight deceleration compared to February, after adjusting for the leap year distortion in February. Airlines in all regions recorded growth. Total capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor improved 0.2 percentage points to 78.8%.
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