Global air passenger travel grew by 5.4% in the year to August, a comparatively fast rate on the back of strength in the European market, according to new data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
As the chart below from IATA shows both premium and economy passenger numbers are continuing to trend higher following a sudden slowdown in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis.
However, reflective of the sharp slowdown that has not only seen global growth expectations revised lower and created nervousness on financial markets, there was one regional that substantially underperformed compared to all others: far east Asia.
“Results for the Within Far East market remained weak in August, up just 2.2% year-on-year,” said IATA.
“The August result is a slight improvement on the July decline, but growth remains weak and is consistent with economic slowdown in some key economies and declines in trade to/from the region. Although recent volatility in China’s stock market is not necessarily indicating that the economy will have a hard landing, various metrics suggest that growth has slowed and this is not a good sign for air travel demand in the region.”
While the deceleration in Asian economic activity was already well-publicised, fretted upon and analysed – particularly when it comes to China – the data provided by IATA merely confirms what most currently think – that all is not well in Asia.