The strength of domestic air passenger traffic in India and China is driving the growth of the global aviation industry.
According to IATA’s latest monthly data for September 2016, double-digit growth in the world’s two most populous countries far outpaced the average global traffic growth – and even the strong regional markets in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
India’s domestic growth continued in September, with passenger traffic (measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPK) surging 23.6% year-on-year and load factors rising to a strong 85.0%. The country has now experienced double-digit growth for approximately two consecutive years. In China, domestic RPK jumped 14.0% and load factors climbed to 83.3%.
This compares favourably to the global passenger traffic growth of +7.0% in September and the average load factor of 81.1%. Asia and the Middle East recorded growth rates of +10.2% and +11.0% respectively, compared to +5.0% in Europe and +4.2% in North America.
Overall, September’s growth marked the strongest year-on-year increase in seven months. And IATA’s director-general & CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said he was happy with the overall strength of global growth during the month.
“September’s growth in passenger demand was healthy. Importantly, this rebound from August weakness suggests that travel demand is showing its resilience in the aftermath of terror attacks. We must, of course, be ever-alert to the ongoing terror threat. And overall the industry is still vulnerable to being buffeted by rising geopolitical tensions, protectionist political agendas, and weak economic fundamentals. This will still be a good year for the airline industry’s performance,” de Juniac said.
Domestic passenger traffic growth (+7.2%), driven by India and China, outpaced international growth (+6.9%) in September, although domestic traffic still accounts for just 36.4% of global air traffic.