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Airline passenger demand down in August due to security concerns

Staff Writer |
Passenger numbers fell in August due to growing security concerns in Europe but the impact was subsiding, an industry body said.

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Passenger demand fell to 4.6% in August, compared to a 6.4% rise in July, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents about 265 airlines comprising of 83% of global traffic.

August's capacity of available seats increased by 5.8% and the load factor slipped slightly, by 0.9 percentage points to 83.8%.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and chief executive, said a dip in passenger demand was "disappointing compared to the previous month's performance" but was "still healthy growth... although terrorist attacks in Europe have dampened demand, the impact is ebbing."

Nonetheless, in August international passenger demand rose 4.7, compared to August 2015, with all regions recording increases, but was dominated by airlines in the Middle East with capacity rose 6.5% resulting in the load factor to fall 1.4 percentage points to 83.9%.

Middle Eastern carriers reported a 10.3% increase, while capacity climbed 13.7%, resulting in a 2.5 percentage point fall in load factor to 81.2%.

For European airlines, they saw demand rise 3.3% year-on-year but were affected by security concerns, but the IATA said there are indications that this may be easing as capacity increased 5.1%, which caused load factor to drop 1.6 percentage points to 86.6%, the highest among all the regions.

De Juniac said lower airfares are a major factor sustaining demand for air travel and airline profitability is stronger as a result of better industry structure and efficiency gains.

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