African air travel growth spikes, outpacing strong global recovery

Tammy Harvey
December 7, 2017

"Safety performance is solid. More people than ever are traveling", said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO.

In 2018, IATA forecast airline passengers to spend US$861b, or 1 per cent of world GDP, on travel.

The group disclosed in Geneva, Switzerland that as a result of the situation, African airlines' traffic grew 7.5 per cent year-on-year in October, up from 3.6 per cent in September.

"The region's carriers face challenges to their business models, and from low oil revenues, regional conflict, crowded air space, the impact of travel restrictions to the United States, and competition the new "super connector" [Turkish Airlines]", IATA said.

While there will be growth in passenger and cargo demand, Iata's chief economist Brian Pearce warned that intense competition will continue to put pressure on passenger yields. "It's still, however, a tough business and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labour and infrastructure expenses", he told a media briefing here yesterday.

"On the other hand, the airline capacity growth in the other Asean markets is more aggressive, namely Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei". To continue to deliver on our full potential, governments need to raise their game-implementing global standards on security, finding a reasonable level of taxation, delivering smarter regulation and building the cost-efficient infrastructure to accommodate growing demand. "Aviation is the business of freedom and a catalyst for growth and development", he said, adding the industry benefits to the economy include 2.7 million direct jobs and support for 3.5% of global economic activity. And next year, airlines are expecting to take in a total of $38.4 billion.


October worldwide passenger demand rose 7.3% compared to October 2016, which was an improvement compared to the 6.6% demand increase for September. The increase in fares was in line with expected inflation.

Meanwhile, the number of air passengers will rise from 4.1 billion in 2017 to 4.3 billion next year.

In a statement today, IATA said, passenger capacity grew by 6.2 per cent and load factor climbed 0.8 percentage point to 80.8 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y).

Iata forecast a rise in overall revenues to $824 billion, up 9.4 per cent on 2017 revenues of $754 billion.

Global trade has also helped cargo operators, with an estimated 62.5 million tons of freight to be carried in 2018, constituting an increase of 4.5 percent from the 2017 forecast.

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