Demand for Air Travel in 2015 Surges to Strongest Result in Five Years

Published on : Friday, February 5, 2016

IATAThe International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for 2015 showing demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 6.5% for the full year compared to 2014. This was the strongest result since the post-Global Financial Crisis rebound in 2010 and well above the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5%. While economic fundamentals were weaker in 2015 compared to 2014, passenger demand was boosted by lower airfares. After adjusting for distortions caused by the rise of the US dollar, global airfares last year were approximately 5% lower than in 2014.

 

“Last year’s very strong performance, against a weaker economic backdrop, confirms the strong demand for aviation connectivity. But even as the appetite for air travel increased, consumers benefitted from lower fares compared to 2014,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

 
Annual capacity rose 5.6% last year, with the result that load factor climbed 0.6 percentage points to a record annual high of 80.3%. All regions experienced positive traffic growth in 2015. Carriers in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for one-third of the total annual increase in traffic.

 

Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2014 RPK Growth ASK Growth PLF
International 5.6% 5.9% 78.1
Domestic 5.1% 4.2% 79.9
Total Market 5.4% 5.3% 78.8
YTD 2015 vs. YTD 2014 RPK Growth ASK Growth PLF
International 6.5% 5.9% 79.7
Domestic 6.3% 5.2% 81.5
Total Market 6.5% 5.6% 80.3

International Passenger Markets

International passenger traffic rose 6.5% in 2015 compared to 2014. Capacity rose 5.9% and load factor rose 0.5 percentage points to 79.7%. All regions recorded year-over-year increases in demand.

 

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic air travel rose 6.3% in 2015. All markets showed growth, led by India and China but there was wide variance. Capacity rose 5.2% and load factor was 81.5%, up 0.9 percentage points over 2014.
Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2014 RPK Growth ASK Growth PLF
Australia 3.2% 1.2% 77.9
Brazil -5.4% -4.0% 80.1
China P.R. 8.2% 8.2% 76.7
​India 25.0​% ​25.2% ​87.5
​Japan 1.2​% ​-2.9% ​64.7
Russian Federation ​​-3.4% -8.0% ​70.0
US 4.9% 4.1​​% ​84.1
Domestic 5.1% 4.2% 79.9
The Bottom Line: “Aviation delivered strong results for the global economy in 2015, enabling connectivity and helping to drive economic development. The value of aviation is well understood by friends and families whom aviation brings together, by business travelers meeting clients in distant cities, and particularly by those for whom aviation is a lifeline in times of crisis.
“It is very disappointing to see that some governments still wrongly believe that the value of taxes and charges that can be extracted from air transport outweighs the benefits—economic and social—of connectivity. The most recent example is the dramatic increase in the Italian Council Tax levied on air passengers. This 33-38% hike will damage Italian economic competitiveness, reduce passenger numbers by over 755,000 and GDP by EUR 146 million per year. An estimated 2,300 jobs a year will be lost. At a time when the global economy is showing signs of weakening, governments should be looking for ways to stimulate spending, not discourage it.”

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