News & Industry Affairs/IATA news

April 2019 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis
RPK growth recovers in April, amid a slower trend


Highlights of the April 2019 Air Passenger Market Analysis

  • As expected, industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) recovered this month, lifting to a 4.3% annual rate of growth. As we noted last month, the timing of Easter has affected the performance in March and April this year.
  • The industry-wide load factor rose to a record high for April at 82.8%, as ASKs increased by 3.6% year-on-year. Amongst the regions, record (April) load factors were recorded in each of Europe, Latin America and Africa.
  • After a sustained period of very strong growth, RPKs in the domestic India market are 0.5% lower than their yearago level. This is the first negative growth rate in more than 5 years and is largely due to the demise of Jet Airways.

Africa was the only region with slower growth in April
International RPK volumes grew by a meager 1.1% in Africa compared to April 2018. This represents the slowest RPK growth outcome in the region since early 2015. In SA terms, passenger volumes fell for African carriers this month for the first time since May of last year. The trend has definitely softened since mid-2018 amidst falling business confidence and rising concerns about economic and political conditions in some of the key economies in the region.


RPK growth trend has slowed…
Annual growth in industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) recovered to 4.3%, up from 3.1% in March. Growth remains steady, but is still well below the long-run average pace of around 5%.
    As we noted last month, the March and April results are blurred by the later timing of the 2019 Easter holiday period and this month’s recovery comes as no surprise. Taking the average for the past two months gives an underlying growth rate of around 3.7% compared with the same period last year.


…but the upward trend remains in place

In seasonally adjusted (SA) terms, the level of passenger volumes has flattened in recent months, confirming the slowdown in growth.
    Highlighting this, over the past six months the annualized growth rate has been a relatively modest 2.6%, a clear slowing from the very strong 9.3% pace of the same period a year ago.


Global headwinds limiting expansion…

The moderation in industry-wide RPK growth over the past year or so has come alongside a softening in some of the key indicators and rising concerns about the broader global economic outlook.
    The global composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) – a very good leading indicator of RPK growth in the past – remains well below its level of 2017 and 2018 and slipped further this month...Download the full document here. 

Back to IATA news >