Nigerian airlines and their counterparts across Africa recorded a five per cent demand increase in 2019, the International Air Transport Association, has said.
According to the IATA, the airlines recorded a capacity increase of 4.5 per cent while load factor went up by 0.3 percentage point to 71.3 per cent.
The association stated in its full-year global passenger traffic results for 2019 that Africa led all regions with the five per cent demand increase, which was, however, down from the 6.3 per cent growth recorded in 2018.
It added that airlines in the region benefitted from a generally supportive economic backdrop in 2019 as well as increases in air transport connectivity.
The IATA stated that globally, demand rose by 4.2 per cent compared to the full year of 2018.
The IATA report noted that the 2019 result was a slowdown compared to 2018’s annual growth of 7.3 per cent and marked the first year since the global financial crisis in 2009 with passenger demand below the long-term trend of around 5.5 per cent annual growth.
“Full-year 2019 capacity climbed 3.4 per cent, and the load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to a record high of 82.6 per cent. The previous high was 81.9 per cent set in 2018,” the IATA said.
“December 2019 revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs increased 4.5 per cent against the same month in 2018. That was an improvement over the 3.3 per cent annual growth recorded in November, primarily due to solid demand in North America,” the association added.
The IATA’s Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, said airlines did well to maintain steady growth in 2019 in the face of a number of challenges.
“A softer economic backdrop, weak global trade activity, and political and geopolitical tensions took their toll on demand,” he said.
According to de Junaic, astute capacity management and the effects of the 737 MAX grounding contributed to another record load factor, helping the industry to manage through weaker demand and improving environmental performance.