Global airline passenger demand growth slowed to 5.7 percent year over year in September, its slowest year-over-year rate of growth since February, according to the International Air Transport Association. Hurricanes Irma and Maria bore the brunt of the blame.
Global airline capacity increased 5.3 percent year over year, pushing load factor up 0.3 percentage points to 81.6 percent, its highest September level ever recorded. IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said demand growth excluding the hurricanes’ impact was “healthy,” although on a global level “the demand stimulation from lower fares has waned, suggesting a moderating trend in traffic growth.”
U.S. domestic traffic declined 1.2 percent year over year in September, a short-lived disruption from the hurricanes, according to IATA. International traffic from North American carriers rose 3 percent, which is lower than the capacity growth rate of 3.6 percent. IATA reported “anecdotal evidence” that additional security measures in place for inbound traffic also are slowing growth to the region.
Middle Eastern carriers also continue to suffer as a result of proposed travel bans to the U.S. and bans of onboard electronic devices that were lifted a few months ago. Overall demand growth from the region rose 3.7 percent, its slowest year-over-year rate of increase since February 2009, and traffic between the Middle East and the U.S. fell for the six previous months.