Thursday, February 2, 2017 1:57 pm
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced full-year global passenger traffic results for 2016 showing that demand rose by 6.3 per cent compared to 2015.
IATA said this strong performance was well above the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent.
The Geneva-based organisation made the announcement in a statement signed by its Director General, Mr Alexandre de Juniac and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
Juniac said capacity rose 6.2 per cent (unadjusted) compared to 2015, pushing the load factor up 0.1 percentage points to a record full-year average high of 80.5 per cent.
He said a particularly strong performance was reported for December with an 8.8 per cent rise in demand outstripping 6.6 per cent capacity growth.
“Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes and a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible.
“As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination,” de Juniac said.
According to him, African airlines had their best growth performance since 2012, up 7.4 per cent.
Juniac said the growth was possible by strong demand on routes to and from Asia and the Middle East while capacity exactly matched demand, with the result that the load factor remained flat at 67.7 per cent.
The director general noted that the demand for air travel was still expanding.
“The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that do not choke growth.
“If we can achieve that, there is plenty of potential for a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry to create more jobs and increase prosperity.
“Our freedom to connect through air travel drives prosperity and enriches societies.
“That freedom can only be given its fullest expression when governments facilitate the movement of people and goods,” he said.
Juniac said that security and competitiveness must always be top priority of governments.
The DG said that the four billion people expected to travel by air this year were an opportunity to build an even better world through the positive impacts of globalisation. (NAN)