Airlines See Continuing Softening Despite Record July Load Factors
By Harvey Chipkin
The airline industry saw a soft start to the peak travel season in July but set a new record load factor nonetheless, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Annual growth in industry-wide revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) slowed to 3.6 percent in July, a continuation of the weaker trend seen in recent months, on a backdrop of “disparate business confidence and mounting global risks.” The trend of moderate capacity growth at the industry level has been maintained in July (3.2 percent year-on-year), leading to new record load factors. The load factor of 85.7 percent is a new all-time high for any month of the year. All regions recorded modest capacity growth and high load factors. While the RPK growth was better than the recent low in March 2019 (3.2 percent), the latest outcome is significantly below the long-term average (5.5 percent) and IATA’s forecast for 2019 (5 percent).