The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced global passenger traffic results for April 2017 showing that African airlines led all regions in growth with a 17.2 per cent traffic increase compared to a year ago.
The Geneva-based apex aviation body made the announcement in a statement signed by its Director General, Mr Alexandre de Juniac and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
De Juniac said the result was the highest demand recorded by African carriers in more than five years.
He said: “This follows a recovery in demand on the key market to Europe.
“Conditions in the continent’s two largest economies are diverging, however, with business confidence rising in Nigeria, while political uncertainty remains heightened in South Africa.
“Capacity rose just 6.1 per cent, with the result that load factor soared 6.9 percentage points to 72.5 per cent. ”
According to him, European carriers saw demand rise 14.4 per cent in April, supported by growing momentum in the region’s economy.
He said: “Asia-Pacific airlines’ April traffic increased 10.9 per cent compared to the year-ago period, a 14-month high. Traffic on Asia-Europe routes continues to recover from the terrorism-related slowdowns last year.
“North American airlines posted a 10.3 per cent demand increase compared to April a year ago.
“Latin American airlines experienced a 16.1 per cent rise in April demand compared to the same month last year, which was the fastest rate for the region’s carriers since December 2011.”
De Juniac noted that the overall global passenger traffic rose by 10.7 per cent compared to April 2016.
He said the strong performance was supported by a pick-up in global economic activity and lower airfares.
“After adjusting for inflation, the price of air travel in the first quarter was around 10 per cent lower than in the year-ago period.
“IATA estimated that falling airfares accounted for around half the demand growth in April.
“However, the cabin ban on the carriage of large portable electronic devices (PEDs) from 10 Middle Eastern and African airports to the US appears to have weighed down Middle East-North America passenger traffic.
“April showed us that demand for air travel remains at very strong levels. Nevertheless there are indications that passengers are avoiding routes where the large PED ban is in place,” de Juniac noted.