Chinese Air-Passenger Traffic Strong in Face of Turbulent Market

  • IATA says state's consumers in better shape than wider economy
  • Global growth `above trend,' passenger tally could gain 7%

Air-passenger traffic in China is on track to achieve a double-digit expansion this year even as the country’s economy and financial markets stutter, underpinning “very strong, above trend growth” worldwide, the International Air Transport Association said Friday.

Buoyant demand reflects the fact that “the consumer in China is in better shape than the economy overall,” IATA Chief Economist Brian Pearce said in London. Carriers will fly almost 3.8 billion people globally in 2016 and grow between 6 and 7 percent, versus the long-term average of 5 percent, he said.

Airline earnings are set to advance 10 percent to a record $36.3 billion this year, aided by the low oil price and an expanding U.S. economy, IATA said in December. Fuel remains a “strong, one-off boost” that may help sustain growth through 2017, Pearce said at a press briefing, adding that operators are using planes more judiciously, with falling fares driving higher load factors.

North American airlines remain on track to lead gains, the economist said. U.S. carrier’s will account for more than half of total income in both 2015 and 2016, IATA said last year.

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