Passengers make their way from the Velvet Sky departure area at the O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg. Picture:Itumeleng English

Audrey D’Angelo

African airlines reported the lowest passenger and freight load factors of any region in October, according to the latest International Air Transport Association (Iata) report.

Iata economists said that passenger demand globally was 3.2 percent higher year on year in October although growth softened compared with September, while capacity was 2.2 percent higher due to the delivery of new generation fuel-saving aircraft.

The report said African airlines carried 2.8 percent more passengers in October than a year earlier while capacity rose by 2.4 percent, “raising the load factor by 0.3 percentage points to 67.7 percent – the lowest of any region. Demand dropped by 0.4 percent compared with September.”

The report noted a sharp drop in air freight demand worldwide in October, down 3.5 percent year on year after a 9 percent rise in September.

“African [freight] carriers saw a 0.5 percent decline in demand and a 2.7 percent rise in capacity. The load factor of 26.6 percent was the weakest for any region.”

European airlines reported growth of 2.6 percent in international passengers, “although down from the 5.5 percent year-on-year growth in September”.

The drop from September was due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy on transatlantic travel, Iata noted. Middle Eastern carriers reported the best growth in passenger demand at 12.4 percent year on year.