International Air Traffic Up Less in 2018 Than in 2017
International air passenger traffic in 2018 climbed 6.3 percent compared to 2017, down from 8.6 percent annual growth the year before. Capacity rose 5.7 percent and load factor climbed by 0.4 percentage points to 81.2 percent. All regions recorded year-over-year increases in traffic, led by Asia-Pacific. However, North America and Africa were the only two regions to post stronger demand growth in 2018 compared to the prior year’s performance. North American airlines had their fastest demand growth since 2011, with full-year traffic rising 5.0 percent compared to 2017, an increase from 4.7 percent annual growth in 2017. However, demand growth slackened noticeably in the last two quarters, possibly owing to increasing concerns over the US economic outlook and trade tensions with China. Capacity in North America climbed 3.7 percent and load factor edged up 1.0 percentage points to 82.6 percent, second highest among the regions.