The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for March 2017 showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers) rose 6.8% compared to the same month a year ago. Capacity grew 6.1% and load factor climbed by half a percentage point to 80.4%, a record for the month. The imposition of the ban on large electronics in the cabin on certain routes to the U.S. and U.K. occurred too late in March to influence traffic figures.

Strong traffic demand continued throughout the first quarter, supported by a combination of lower fares and a broad-based upturn in global economic conditions. The price of air travel has fallen by around 10% in real terms over the past year and that has contributed to record load factors. “We will have to wait another month to see the impact of the laptop ban on demand,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

North America carriers posted a 2.7% traffic rise in March compared to the year-ago period. Capacity climbed 3.7% and load factor slipped 0.7 percentage points to 79.8%. Other regions – including Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Latin America and Africa -- saw stronger growth.