The air transport industry is not only a vital engine of global socio-economic growth, but it is also of vital importance as a catalyst for economic development. Not only does the industry create direct and indirect employment and support tourism and local businesses, but it also stimulates foreign investment and international trade.
Informed decision-making is the foundation upon which successful businesses are built. In a fast-growing industry like aviation, planners and investors require the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and reliable data. ICAO’s aviation data/statistics programme provides accurate, reliable and consistent aviation data so that States, international organizations, aviation industry, tourism and other stakeholders can:
- make better projections;
- control costs and risks;
- improve business valuations; and
- benchmark performance.
The UN recognized ICAO as the central agency responsible for the collection, analysis, publication, standardization, improvement and dissemination of statistics pertaining to civil aviation. Because of its status as a UN specialized agency, ICAO remains independent from outside influences and is committed to consistently offering comprehensive and objective data. Every month ICAO produces this Air Transport Monitor, a monthly snapshot and analysis of the economic and aviation indicators.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – June 2019
World Results and Analyses for April 2019
Total Scheduled Services (Domestic and International)
Revenue Passenger-Kilometres – RPK
World passenger traffic grew by +4.3% YoY in April 2019, +1.2 percentage points higher than the growth in the previous month. Despite a recovery from the record low, this growth was still the second lowest in the last five years. All regions posted a pick-up, except for Africa and North America. Europe revived as the fastest growing region followed by Latin America/Caribbean and North America. Performance in Asia/Pacific and the Middle East remained subdued. Russian Federation continued to show the fastest domestic growth, followed by China, the United States and Japan.
International Traffic vs. Tourist Arrivals
International passenger traffic grew by +5.1% YoY in April 2019, +2.6 percentage points higher than the growth in the previous month. All regions accelerated in traffic growth, except for Africa and Latin America/Caribbean. The Middle East returned to positive performance but remained weak. The growth of international tourist arrivals* was relatively less fluctuated.
Available Seat-Kilometres – ASK
Capacity worldwide increased by +3.6% YoY in April 2019, -0.6 percentage point lower than the growth in the previous month (+4.2%). According to the airline schedules, capacity expansion is expected to further slow down to +3.5% in May 2019.
Load Factor – LF
The passenger Load Factor reached 82.8% in April 2019, +1.1 percentage points higher than the LF recorded in the previous month. As traffic growth outpaced the capacity expansion, the April LF was +0.5 percentage point higher compared to the rate in the same period of 2018.
Freight Tonne-Kilometres – FTK
World freight traffic reported a decline of -4.7% YoY in April 2019, -4.8 percentage points lower than the growth in the previous month. After a temporary uptick, freight traffic fell notably again. All regions posted deceleration, except for Latin America/Caribbean which became the fastest growing region. A negative trend was observed in Asia/Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, attributing to the overall weakness of freight traffic. Growth in North America, the second largest region of freight traffic, has stagnated to almost the same level as a year ago. Conditions for freight growth remain challenging, impacted by various headwinds to global trade such as the trade tensions. Momentum continued in Africa, however, at a slightly slower pace.
In terms of aircraft departures, the Top 15 airports reported a growth of +1.7% YoY. Twelve out of the Top 15 airports posted YoY increases. Atlanta remained at 1st and grew by a meagre +0.6%. The strongest growth in operations was recorded by Paris and Phoenix, both growing at +10.9%. Beijing posted a noticeable decrease of -8.3%.
In terms of passengers, the Top 15 airports reported a growth of +1.1% YoY. Eleven out of the Top 15 airports posted YoY increases. Four airports in Asia/Pacific and the Middle East posted decline, with Dubai contracting the most by -11.1%. The highest growth was reported by Paris at +12.9%, as a comparison to depressed figures due to an airline strike a year ago.
In terms of freight, the Top 15 airports reported a decline of -5.4% YoY. All the Top 15 airports posted
YoY declines, except three airports in North America with Louisville up by +12.3%. A significant downward trend was observed in major hubs in Asia/Pacific. The sharpest fall was posted by Tokyo (-14.5%), followed by Singapore (-12.8%) and Taipei (-9.9%).
APR 2019: +4.5% YoY in terms of RPK for the Top 15
In terms of RPK, the Top 15 airline groups accounted for 48.7% of world total RPK in April
2019 and grew by +4.5% YoY. This growth was +0.2 percentage point higher than the world
average on scheduled services. Twelve out of the Top 15 airline groups posted YoY increases.
Delta retained the 1st position with a solid growth of +5.9%, followed by United, rising at
+4.7%. American continued to be 3rd and slipped by -1.3%. Southwest grew by a marginal
+0.3% and was down 1 position to 10th.
Emirates dipped sharply by -6.2% and ranked 2 positions down to 6th. Qatar recorded the
strongest growth among the Top 15 airlines, at a robust +20.4%, and ranked 13th.
Lufthansa grew solidly at 6.6% and improved 2 positions to 4th, followed by AF-KLM at 5th
with a brisk upswing of +9.5% comparing to the weak traffic last year impacted by airline strike.
Ryanair recorded the second fastest growth among the Top 15, at +10.8% and improved 1
position to 12th. Turkish Airlines continued to post a downward trend and contracted -5.0%.
Slower pace was observed in major airlines in Asia/Pacific with Singapore Airlines showing the
highest growth in the region, at +7.6%. China Southern and China Eastern grew by +6.3% and
+5.3%, and remained at 8th and 11th, respectively. Air China went up 1 position to 9th albeit
with moderate growth of +4.5%.
Worldwide capacity expanded by +3.6% YoY in April 2019. All regions posted deceleration in capacity expansion, except for Europe, which continued to be the fastest growing region. The most significant slowdown was posted by the Middle East, and the region became the only one with a decreased capacity YoY. In terms of YTD capacity increase, Africa and the Middle East remained as the slowest regions.
Acronyms: ACI: Airports Council International; ASK: Available Seat-Kilometres; IATA: International Air Transport Association; FTK: Freight Tonne-Kilometres; LF: Passenger Load Factor;
OAG: Official Airline Guide; RPK: Revenue Passenger-Kilometres; UNWTO: World Tourism Organization; YoY: Year-on-year; YTD: Year-to-date.