IATA Reports On
An airline industry
group claims a slight slowdown in airline
traffic is not necessarily bad for business.
The International Air Transport Association
(IATA) estimates that its member airlines
posted a collective operating profit of
$10.2 billion for 2006, with net losses
totaling $500 million. All of this while
the airlines experienced a decelerating
passenger traffic growth rate of 5.9 percent,
down from 7.6 percent in 2005. The Middle
East was the fastest-growing region, recording
a full-year passenger traffic increase of
15.4 percent. All other regions saw a decline
in the growth rate compared to 2005, while
traffic actually decreased 2.4 percent in
Latin America thanks to Varig's downsizing.
Load factors improved in all regions except
the Middle East and Africa, led by North
American carriers, which posted an 80.2
percent load factor.
The organization claims growth was more
profitable in 2006 than in recent years
as careful capacity management led to a
record average load factor of 76 percent,
up 0.9 point. Worldwide capacity growth
for the year was just 4.6 percent. IATA
reported that worldwide cargo traffic rose
4.6 percent in 2006. The organization claims
high fuel costs and strong competition from
other transport modes as contributing factors.