According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced global international traffic results for September, with passenger traffic declining 2.9%, compared to the same month in 2007.
International load factors tumbled by 4.4% percentage points from August to 74.8% in September.
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO said, “The deterioration in traffic is alarmingly fast-paced and widespread. We have not seen such a decline in passenger traffic since SARS in 2003. Even the good news that the oil price has fallen to half its July peak is not enough to offset the impact of the drop in demand. At this rate, losses may be even deeper than our forecast USD5.2-billion for this year.”
This is the first time since the SARS crisis in 2003 that global passenger traffic has shrunk. Capacity cuts were not able to keep pace with the fall in demand. September load factors in all regions fell compared to August.
For September, all major regions reported that passenger traffic shrank, with the exception of Latin American carriers which saw an increase of 1.7%.
Even this is down from the 11.9% growth of the previous month.
African carriers posted the largest decline in traffic (-7.8%), a continuation of the previous month’s trend.
This drop in overall international air traffic does not bode well for Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) and its promoter BIAL. The domestic air traffic has reduced drastically, with short-haul traffic all but disappearing. Only a spectacular growth in international flights has enabled BIA a modest 1.5% gain in overall passenger traffic. The recent announcement by the world’s largest airline, Air France-KLM, of withdrawal of the Hyderabad Amsterdam route due to poor performance, highlights the problem.
It is imperative for the BIAL consortium to put its thinking cap on and try to raise the domestic traffic, lest the international airlines pull the rug from under its feet.