- Global air passenger traffic grew by 6.5% in 2015 as a whole – the fastest pace since the post-GFC rebound in 2010 and well above the 10-year average annual growth of 5.5%.
- While the economic backdrop was weaker in 2015 compared to the previous year, passenger traffic received a strong boost from lower air fares: after adjusting for distortions from the rise in the US dollar, global airfares in 2015 were approximately 5% lower than in 2014. All told, we estimate this boost to have driven around half of the annual growth in traffic last year.
- Total traffic growth outstripped the rise in capacity and the global load factor reached an all-time high of 80.3% in 2015. The passenger load factor increased for carriers in all regions except the Middle East, where capacity growth exceeded a 10% increase in passenger traffic.
- The easing in annual traffic growth seen towards the end of 2015 is largely attributable to temporary factors, including airline strikes in Europe. All told, global business confidence surveys suggest that economic conditions will remain supportive of another strong year for passenger traffic in 2016. Indeed, the additional decline in oil prices in recent months is likely to provide further stimulus for air travel growth throughout the year too.
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