Evidence is amassing that repeated terrorism attacks may have have long lasting impact on global travel as airline demand begins to ease after months of global turmoil, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned.
“The demand for travel continues to increase, but at a slower pace,”
said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“The fragile and uncertain economic backdrop, political shocks and a wave of terrorist attacks are all contributing to a softer demand environment.”
Growth was slowest in Europe during June where demand rose 2.1%, “reflecting the negative impact of recent terrorism.
“While demand tends to recover reasonably quickly after such events, the repeated nature of the attacks may have a more lasting impact.”
Capacity climbed 3.4% and load factor slipped 1.1% percentage points to 83.3%.
There were also potentially worrying signs in Asia Pacific.
While airline June traffic in Asia Pacific increased 8.2% year on year, “most of the growth relates to the strong upward trend seen in the final months of 2015 and into 2016, with June demand barely higher than in February.
“This could be a natural pause, but possibly is also a sign of Asian passengers being put off travel by terrorism in Europe. Capacity rose 7.3% and load factor inched up 0.6 percentage points to 78.2%.
“Middle Eastern carriers posted a 7.5% traffic increase in June, which was well down on the double-digit growth recorded earlier in the year.
“In part this could be owing to the timing of Ramadan, which tends to depress traffic growth. Capacity rose 14.3%, which caused load factor to dive 4.4 percentage points to 69.9%.”
Elsewhere, North American airlines performed well as demand rose rose 4.0% compared to last year.
“Latin American airlines experienced an 8.8% rise in demand compared to the same month last year, suggesting that carriers there have flown out of the soft patch seen in the first quarter.
“African airline trafficclimbed 4.7% in June, an indication that the strong upward trend in demand that began in the second half of 2015 has paused.”
However, capacity rose 7.4%, ensuring Africa had the lowest load factor of all regions at 64.4%.
“It is too soon to know whether recent terrorist attacks will have a long-term negative influence on demand, nor what will be the impact of Brexit and the events in Turkey,” said Tyler.
“But it is vital that governments recognize and support aviation’s ability to contribute to global economic well-being and better understanding across cultural and political borders.”