Airlines have registered a “healthy” increase in demand in April, says IATA.

Traffic rose 7.5% compared with April 2013, after a year-on-year increase of 2.9% in March. Airlines increased capacity 5.8%, while load factor improved 1.2 percentage points to 79.4%.

Growth was largely driven by more demand for international flights. Traffic in the segment increased 8.5%, while capacity was raised just under 7%. Load factor rose 1.2 percentage points to 79%.

Meanwhile, domestic traffic increased 5.8%, as capacity was boosted 3.9%. Load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 80.2%.

International traffic grew at highest rate in the Middle East. But in the Asia-Pacific region, “economic conditions… do not support further acceleration in demand growth, with China continuing to show weakness and Japan starting to see some reversal of previous growth momentum”, says IATA.

The association is cautiously optimistic about the mature markets of Europe as economic activity in the eurozone improves “albeit at rates that are below expectations”, and it says that North American carriers can expect “stronger growth in air travel demand in coming months”.

For Latin America, the airline outlook is “broadly positive”, although IATA warns that business travel demand is unlikely to accelerate in the near term as “trade volumes have made no progress this year compared to the highs reached at the end of 2013”.

Airlines in Africa have registered weak growth in demand which, IATA says, “could be in part reflecting adverse economic developments in some parts of the continent” such as South Africa.

The overall rise in demand was a “pleasant surprise in the face of the moderating trend of recent months”, says IATA director general Tony Tyler. He adds, however, that it is “not clear whether the acceleration in demand is sustainable in view of global economic trends including slower growth in China”.

Source: Cirium Dashboard