Global air traffic growth outpaced the year’s 6.1 percent capacity growth, leading to a record load factor of 81.9 percent. “2018 was another year of strong passenger demand,” said IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. Compared to 2017’s 8 percent growth in demand, however, 2018 was slower. IATA attributed the relative slowdown to the second half of the year.
IATA forecasts global passenger demand to rise 6 percent in 2019, thanks to a relatively solid global economy. “We expect similar, if somewhat moderating performance in 2019,” said de Juniac. “Nevertheless, slowing traffic growth in the second half of 2018, coupled with concerns over issues including Brexit and U.S.-China trade tensions, are creating some uncertainty to this positive outlook.”
Demand for international air travel grew 6.3 percent for 2018, while capacity rose 5.7 percent. Load factor increased 0.4 percent to 81.2 percent. Growth in international demand was moderate for all regions except Africa and North America, both of which grew faster than last year.
Global demand rose 5.3 percent year over year in December, while capacity climbed 6.1 percent. Load factor fell 0.6 percent to 80.4 percent.