The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday said that African airlines recorded a 6.3 per cent increase in passenger traffic in February compared to the same period last year.
In a statement signed by its Director-General, Mr Alexandre de Juniac, IATA said that the growth occurred amid an improving regional economic growth.
“Business confidence in Nigeria has risen sharply over the past 15 months while a reduction in political uncertainty in South Africa has contributed to an improvement in business confidence there, for the first time in more than a year.
“Also, capacity rose by 3.3 per cent, and load factor climbed 1.9 percentage points to 67.8 per cent,” de Juniac said.
According to him, global passenger traffic results for February 2018 showed a rebound in traffic growth, following slower demand experienced in January, owing to temporary factors.
The total Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) for the month rose by 7.6 per cent, compared to February 2017, up from 4.6 per cent year-over-year growth in January.
The IATA boss said that monthly capacity (available seat kilometres) increased by 6.3 per cent, and load factor rose 0.9 percentage point to 80.4 per cent, surpassing the previous record of 79.5 per cent set in February 2017.
“As expected, we saw a return to stronger demand growth in February after temporary slowdown in January. This is being supported by the robust economic backdrop and solid business confidence.
“However, increases in fuel prices as well as cost of labour in some countries are not likely to impact positively on lower airfares this year,” de Juniac said.
He said that there was a positive picture of growth in demand for aviation connectivity all around the globe.
“Aviation is the business of freedom, enabling people to live better lives. Aviation has helped to lift millions from poverty.
“However, for aviation to deliver greater benefits in future, adequate and affordable infrastructure is a must,” de Juniac added.