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Asia Pacific air travel up in January

MANILA, Philippines – International air travel in the Asia-Pacific region sustained its upward trend due to the increase in direct airport connections, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported.

Latest data from IATA showed January traffic for Asia Pacific-based airlines rose 10.3 percent compared to year-ago figures as capacity increased 7.6 percent and load factor climbed two percentage points to 79.2 percent.

“The increase in the number of direct airport connections within the Asian region over the past 12 months has helped stimulate demand and offset negative impacts of slower economic growth in many of the region’s economies,” IATA director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said.

Meanwhile, global passenger traffic for January showed solid demand growth for both domestic and international traffic with total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rising 7.1 percent, ahead of the 2015 full growth of 6.5 percent.

Capacity also increased 5.6 percent and load factor 1.1 percentage points to 78.8 percent, the highest load factor recorded for the first month of the year.

“January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite recent turmoil in equity markets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth,” Tyler said.

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Furthermore, Middle East carriers posted the strongest year-on-year demand growth at 11 percent on the back of the region’s network and fleet expansion.

African airlines’ traffic rose 12 percent and are seen to continue a strong upward trend in travel since the mid-2015, in conjunction with a jump in exports from the region over the same period.

Likewise, traffic in Latin America climbed nine percent in January but domestic traffic remains under pressure from economic difficulties particularly in Brazil and international demand shows little sign of slowdown.

European carriers saw traffic increase 4.2 percent as volumes started to pick up after the region’s decline in the last part of 2015 due to airline strikes and shutdowns.

On the other hand, airlines in North America saw the slowest growth in international traffic at 2.4 percent as carriers have focused on stronger and larger domestic market.

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