Air passenger traffic in the Asia Pacific region experienced strong growth in January, continuing the expansion seen in 2015.
According to the latest data from IATA, the region’s traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), jumped 10.4% during the month, while aircraft load factors increased 1.8 percentage points to a strong 78.5%. Asia’s growth outpaced the global increase of 7.1%, in terms of RPK.
“January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite recent turmoil in equity markets,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general & CEO.
“The record [78.8% global] load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth.”
IATA noted that Asia Pacific’s traffic is being boosted by a rise in the number of direct flight connections. The number of city pairs in the region has increased 7.3% in the last 12 months, helping to stimulate passenger demand. Asia Pacific also now accounts for 31.5% of global air traffic, making it the world’s largest aviation region ahead of Europe (26.7%) and North America (24.7%).
In terms of domestic traffic, India and China kept up their strong momentum in January 2016. In India, traffic jumped 22.9% year-on-year and load factors averaged a strong 84.7%, while Chinese domestic traffic increased 11.9% and load factors rose to 79.1%.
China now accounts for 8.4% of global domestic air traffic, making it the second biggest market behind the US (15.4%). India overtook Japan in 2015 and is now the world’s fifth largest domestic air market.