The global airline industry is showing some signs of improvement according to the latest figures for January 2010 released by IATA. The demand for international scheduled air traffic has shown some continuing improvement. Compared to the previous year, January passenger demand was up 6.4%. Against this improving demand, a 1.2% increase in passenger capacity in January pushed load factors to 75.9% (up from the 72.2% recorded for January 2009).
International cargo demand showed a 28.3% improvement with only a 3.7% increase in capacity. This pushed the cargo load factor to 49.6% which is a significant change from the 40.1% recorded in January 2009.
The large increases in year-on-year comparisons reflect a steady improvement from the precipitous fall in demand that characterized the early part of 2009 rather than a dramatic improvement in January. Compared to December 2009, and adjusting for seasonal variations, passenger demand grew by 0.5% while air freight volumes increased by 3.0%.
'Airlines have lost 2-3 years of growth. Demand is moving in the right direction. The 3.0% increase in freight volumes from December to January is particularly encouraging. We can start to see the future with some cautious optimism, but better volumes do not necessarily mean better profits. Passenger yields are still 15% below peak. And we expect 2010 losses to be US$5.6 billion,'