Global passenger traffic up 4.1% in September: IATA

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Global passenger traffic as measured in RPKs for September rose by 4.1% year on year, while cargo traffic declined by 0.6% compared with the year before, according to IATA's September traffic report.

International traffic grew by 4.9% year on year in September, while domestic traffic rose by 2.6%, says IATA.

Overall passenger capacity as measured in ASKs grew by 3.1%, while international and domestic capacity also grew by 3.1%.

Passenger load factors on the international market stood at 80.9% in September.

Meanwhile, on the cargo front, FTKs increased 0.6% against a capacity decline of 0.6%. The overall cargo load factor for the month was 45.6%, says IATA.

Middle Eastern carriers experienced the strongest traffic growth by far, with demand up by 13.3% year on year. Capacity in September of these carriers rose by 11.3% and the load factor strengthened to 78.7%. Asia-Pacific was one of the weakest regions, as demand rose by just 1.7% year on year and the load factor rose by 1 percentage point to 77.2%.

"Europe's airlines are experiencing profitless growth in a strategy to manage high fixed costs and taxes. In Africa, the challenge is to turn growth opportunities into profits. But for North American airlines the focus is on tightly managing capacity in order to optimise profits in a slow to no-growth environment. Asia-Pacific carriers outside of China are a mixed bag. Robust growth in China is being tempered by faltering markets in Japan and India," says Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and chief executive.

"Putting regional diversity aside, the fact that airlines are making any money at all with weak markets and high fuel prices is a tribute to their strong business performance, as evidenced by maintaining global load factors close to 80% since the start of 2012. Even with that, airlines are expected to eke out a global net profit margin of only 0.6%. It's a tough year," he adds.