March Sees Slowest Air Traffic Growth in Nine Years
Growth of global air passenger traffic slowed to its lowest level in nine years in March, according to the International Air Traffic Association. Traffic, as measured in the number of kilometers flown by revenue-paying passengers, was up 3.1 percent year-over-year in March. That compares to an annualized growth rate since October 2018 of 4.1 percent. IATA attributed the March slowdown primarily to the timing of Easter, which fell on April 21 this year, too late to have played a significant factor in March travel demand. Last year Easter was on April 1. But the trade group also acknowledged that broader global economic factors might have played a role. While traffic growth slowed considerably in March, IATA does not see the month as a bellwether for the rest of 2019, IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said in a prepared statement. Nevertheless, he added, the economic backdrop has become somewhat less favorable, with the IMF having recently revised its GDP outlook downward for a fourth time in the past year.