African airlines saw a 6.3 per cent rise in traffic compared to February 2017, according to latest figures released from the International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Airlines in Latin America posted the fastest year-on-year growth for a second consecutive month as February traffic jumped 9.8 per cent, up from 8.1 per cent growth in January. They were followed by Asia-Pacific airlines which experienced a 9.1 per cent rise in growth compared to a year ago thanks to healthy regional economic growth and expansion in the number of routes on offer. While traffic from North American and European carriers climbed 7.2 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively.
Across Africa, seat capacity rose 3.3 per cent, and load factor (the proportion of available capacity taken up by the market) climbed 1.9 percentage points to 67.8 per cent. Traffic growth occurred amid an improving regional economic backdrop, especially in Nigeria and South Africa where business confidence has risen sharply over the past year.
David Oxley from IATA, who wrote the Air Passenger Market Analysis February 2018 report, commented, "International revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) flown by carriers based in Africa grew by 6.3 per cent year-on-year in February. The upward trend in traffic remains solid, and may find further support from a tentative improvement in the region's largest economies: business confidence in Nigeria has risen sharply over the past 15 months, helped by recent rises in oil prices, while a reduction in political uncertainty in South Africa recently helped business confidence to return to positive territory for the first time in more than a year."
Total RPKs for the month rose 7.6 per cent, compared to February 2017, up from 4.6 per cent year-over-year growth in January.
"As expected, we saw a return to stronger demand growth in February, after the temporary slowdown in January. This is being supported by the robust economic backdrop and solid business confidence. However, increases in fuel prices--and labor costs in some countries--likely will temper the amount of traffic stimulation from lower airfares this year," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.