Global passenger traffic increased year-on-year by 5.1% in August, partly driven by a distortion due to the timing of Ramadan, on capacity grown by 4.1%, according to IATA's August traffic report. This resulted in an average load factor for the month falling by 0.8 percentage points to 82.1%.
International passenger traffic rose by 5.3% year-on-year against capacity grown by 4.1%, while domestic passenger traffic increased by 4.8% against capacity increased by 4.2% in August.
Middle Eastern carriers recorded the largest rate of growth in August, up by 16.7% against capacity grown by 13.3%. Load factor stood at 78.4%.
Global freight demand fell by 0.8% in August against capacity increased by 0.4%, leading to a freight load factor of 43%. International cargo traffic declined 1.3% against a 0.7% capacity increase, leading to a load factor of 46.9%.
IATA says a slight recovery in the freight market seen at the beginning of the year "has faded quickly" and warns that the stable period experienced in 2012 "could be under threat owing to continued economic weakness".
Domestic cargo traffic grew by 2.2% year-on-year, while capacity was shrunk by 0.7%, leading to load factor of 28.7%.
Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and chief executive, says: "Sluggish growth in the US, the continuing sovereign debt crisis in Europe and concerns over the slowdown in the Chinese economy are taking their toll on both business and consumer confidence.
"Airlines have responded with, among other things, careful capacity management."