The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced global passenger traffic data for April showing that demand rose by 10.7 per cent compared to April last year.
April capacity (available seat kilometres) increased by 7.1 per cent and load factor climbed 2.7 percentage points to 82 per cent – a record for the month of April.
The strong performance is supported by a pick-up in global economic activity and lower airfares.
After adjusting for inflation, the price of air travel in the first quarter was around 10 per cent lower than in the year-ago period.
IATA estimated that falling airfares accounted for around half the demand growth in April.
However, the cabin ban on the carriage of large portable electronic devices from 10 Middle Eastern and African airports to the US appears to have weighed down Middle East-North America passenger traffic.
“April showed us that demand for air travel remains at very strong levels. Nevertheless there are indications that passenger are avoiding routes where the large portable electronic devices ban is in place,” said IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac.
“As the US Department of Homeland Security considers expanding the ban, the need to find an alternative measures to keep flying secure is critical. If the ban were extended to Europe-to-US flights, we estimate a $1.4 billion hit on productivity and industry costs,” added the IATA boss.
An IATA commissioned survey of business travellers, he said, indicated that around 15 per cent would seek to reduce their travel in the face of a ban.
April international passenger demand rose 12.5 per cent compared to April last year, with all regions recording double-digit year-over-year traffic increases for the first time in 12 years.
Total capacity climbed 7.7 per cent and load factor climbed 3.5 percentage points to 81.5 per cent.
African airlines led all regions in growth with a 17.2 per cent traffic increase in April, the fastest pace in more than five years.
This follows a recovery in demand on the key market to Europe.