MIAMI — International air passenger growth rose 4.5 percent in August year over year, while premium and economy passenger numbers rose at the same rate, according to new IATA statistics. In its “Premium Traffic Monitor” report, IATA dismissed worries about passenger traffic growth after recent monthly declines in monthly traffic compared to the same interval in 2013. “The expansion in passenger numbers is consistent with signs of improving business conditions, after a period of weakness in international trade and business confidence earlier in the year,” said the report.
International traffic overall saw an increase of 4.5 percent, spurred by strong European growth in both the North and Mid Pacific, at 7.1 percent, and Europe Far East, at 6.7 percent. The recent weakening of the Eurozone economy is yet to have an obvious impact on air travel growth, said the report.
International traffic has taken a slight hit in several markets, most notably being South America. Inter South American traffic declined 3.8 percent year to date against last year’s results. Increased economic turmoil and international airline disputes within Venezuela is the driving force behind the 3.8 percent loss in passenger traffic within South America.
Many international carriers including Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have drastically cut or even pulled out of Venezuela altogether due to the government accumulating an estimated $4 billion debt to foreign carriers. Overall premium traffic dropped nearly 8 percent while traffic between South America and the United States also dropped 2.2 percent.
Premium traffic continues to impress across the trans-Atlantic and from the Middle East. North Atlantic premium traffic made up 16 percent of all global traffic while accumulating 25 percent of revenues from premium traffic world wide.
International premium traffic between Africa and the Middle East grew substantially with an almost 20 percent increase from last year. A growing middle class, along with increased competition from Middle Eastern giants Emirates, Qatar, and FlyDubai, greatly contributed to this steep increase.
International flights between Europe and North America at consistent levels of 3.4 percent compared to 2013, while the ever-concerning Eurozone economic crisis and the growing U.S. debt have not seemed to hurt traffic numbers. IATA has compiled a collection of helpful graphs and charts to further break down the numbers in its full Premium Traffic Analysis for August 2014 here.