PASSENGER traffic in the Asia-Pacific outstripped the global pace of growth by expanding a healthy 10 per cent year on year in May.
This was despite a 7.5 per cent rise in capacity (measured in available seat kilometres) for the region's airlines, lifting load factor to 77 per cent.
According to the latest passenger traffic monitor by the International Air Transport Association (Iata), global air travel (measured in revenue-passenger-kilometres) picked up from April to increase 6.9 per cent year-on-year in May, boosted by healthy demand in the international and domestic markets alike. Capacity was up 6.5 per cent, causing passenger load factor to increase to 79.3 per cent.
"May's results confirm that demand for connectivity remains robust, but there are possible storm clouds forming on the horizon," cautioned Iata chief Tony Tyler.
He pointed to the financial crisis in Greece as well as softening regional trade activity in Asia-Pacific, which have the potential to adversely impact performance in these markets in the coming months.
On international markets, passenger traffic was up 7.1 per cent in May as all regions - except Africa - reported stronger growth. Passenger volumes outpaced capacity, which climbed 6.7 per cent, nudging load factor up 0.3 percentage point to 78.4 per cent.
For Asia-Pacific carriers, traffic on international markets shot up 9.4 per cent, while capacity grew a slower 6.8 per cent, resulting in a 1.8 percentage point jump in load factor to 76 per cent.
"The strong performance occurred despite weakness in regional trade activity during recent months. Such developments have the potential to erode demand for business-related air travel," Iata said in the report.