Πέμπτη, 31 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Importance of Loyalty Programs in Hospitality Industry declines


Deloitte released "A Restoration in Loyalty," an inaugural survey that provides insights into consumer travel behavior and loyalty program satisfaction.
The survey reported a steep decline in consumer loyalty to travel brands. Only eight percent of survey respondents indicated they always stay at the same brand of hotel brand, while just 14 percent of survey respondents always fly on the same airline.
"According to Deloitte's survey, it is clear that travel brands need to up their game if they want to drive genuine loyalty among consumers," said Adam Weissenberg , vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. Travel, Hospitality and Leisure leader. "With heightened competition and eroding customer loyalty, hotels and airlines, now, more than ever, need to focus on enhancing and personalizing the consumer experience."
The Decline of the Loyalty Program
Considering that most travel brands consider reward programs as the cornerstone of consumer loyalty, such programs ranked low in importance for influencing consumer travel (20th out of 26 attributes for hotels, and 19th out of 26 attributes for airlines) – well behind value and past experience. Only 55 percent consider loyalty programs of high importance when choosing airlines and 45 percent consider loyalty programs of high importance when choosing hotels.
Furthermore, the survey found that most consumers believed even grocery stores had much more innovative and ultimately rewarding loyalty programs – just over half of survey respondents said they are satisfied or very satisfied with their hotel loyalty program (56 percent) and airline loyalty program (53 percent).
The Pragmatic Traveler
The state of the economy continues to affect consumer travel habits, with value for money ranking as one of the most important considerations when booking hotels and flights. The survey found consumers seek value for money, comfort and location when choosing a hotel, while on-time arrivals and departures, safety and value for money are the most important factors for choosing an airline. Consumers are no longer craving the luxury of premium class, particularly when it comes to domestic travel – 64 percent of consumers said they fly economy on domestic flights for business(46 percent for international), while 79 percent fly economy for leisure on domestic flights (66 percent for international). The price of gas continues to have a strong impact – 61 percent of respondents said gas prices had some effect on their travel plans.
It's Not All about Smartphones and Social Media
According to the survey, 63 percent of respondents never want to interact with a travel brand via social media and 44 percent never visit social media and review sites for travel. Additionally, 80 percent of respondents have neverdownloaded a hotel or airline app to their smartphones. Meanwhile, nearly half of survey respondents (49 percent) have used flash sale sites, to follow discounts on travel. In fact, the majority of consumers are still using tried-and-trusted methods to book travel reservations – 61 percent use hotel and 59 percent use airline websites most frequently. What really matters to consumers when being engaged by travel brands is a secure and easy purchase process, email discounts and the latest news.
At a time where consumers are more likely to show loyalty to a soda brand than an airline, what can travel brands do to combat this?
"Travel brands need to be more innovative and clear in communicating their product and service offerings," added Weissenberg. "For example, Deloitte's research showed that while earning and redeeming points are the most important attributes for choosing hotel and airline loyalty programs, travel brands should focus on enhancing the customer experience, making rewards personally meaningful, encouraging loyalty with unexpected rewards if they want to boost consumer engagement, and ultimately building long-term customer relationships."
A full copy of the survey is available on Deloitte's website at: www.deloitte.com/us/pursuitofloyalty 

New International Airport to open in Doha, Qatar


The State of Qatar is ready to welcome a new chapter in the country’s remarkable aviation industry with preparations well underway for the April 1 first phase opening of the new Hamad International Airport to be operated by national carrier Qatar Airways.

Details of the soft launch opening were unveiled to an audience of more than 100 airport officials and airline executives in Doha today at an event jointly organised by Qatar Airways, the Hamad International Airport’s Operational Readiness and Airport Transition (ORAT) team and Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).
QCAA Chairman H. E. Abdul Aziz Al Noiami, spelled out the plans for the airport’s readiness, in which Qatar Airways will play a pivotal role.
The first phase of the US$15.5 billion project involves 12 international passenger airlines becoming the launch carriers of the new facility from April 1. These include low-cost airlines.
Qatar Airways will move its entire operations to Hamad International Airport in the second half of the year. Until recently, the airport was known under the project working name New Doha International Airport (NDIA).
Qatar Airways will work closely with the first movers to ensure a smooth transition of flights from the current Doha International Airport.
With the phased approach, Doha will have a dual airport operation until full operations begin at Hamad International in the second half of 2013.
From March, freight forwarders and agents in Qatar will process import and export consignments at Hamad International Airport. Cargo uplift and arrivals will remain at Doha International Airport from where shipments will be transported by road to the new facility.
Cargo flights operated by Qatar Airways and other freighter companies are expected to begin to and from Hamad International from the summer.
Hamad International Airport will accommodate 28 million passengers annually when it opens this year, increasing to 50 million beyond 2015.


Top 100 Cities Destination ranking


Global market research company Euromonitor International released its Top 100 Cities Destination ranking, a list of the world’s top cities in terms of international tourist arrivals in 2011.
The rebound in global economic growth in 2011 contributed to stronger tourism demand, positively impacting results for the top 100 cities, with arrivals increasing 7%. Emerging city destinations located in Asia Pacific performed well thanks to a strong economic environment and intra-regional demand.
Hong Kong topped the ranking with more than 20 million arrivals in 2011, a nine percent increase over 2010. Hong Kong remains largely dependent on arrivals from China, but new themed events organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board helped draw in visitors from other Asian countries this year. Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand all registered double-digit growth in the number of trips to Hong Kong.
Singapore and London kept their 2010 positions as number two and three on the list, recording nearly 20 million arrivals and 15 million arrivals, respectively. Singapore’s growth was driven primarily by large events such as the Great Singapore Sales, Formula One Grand Prix and TravelRave, while London benefited from a wide mix of entertainment options and its position as Europe’s best connected city.
While many cities maintained their previous rankings, Vietnam showed a particularly strong performance with Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi experiencing over 40% growth for the second consecutive year,” explains Caroline Bremner, Head ofTravel and Tourism Research at Euromonitor International. “Although Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will continue to betop tourist attractions in Vietnam, future demand is likely to be driven by other Vietnamese cities including Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc emerging as international tourists look to discover more new places.”
Euromonitor International foresees even stronger growth for arrivals in 2012. Because uncertainty in the global economy still exists, especially in the US and Europe, future growth will be driven by Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Less visa restrictions will further encourage tourism flows over 2012-2016.

Travel to Canada declines


Travel to Canada fell 0.6% to 2.1 million trips in November, as a decline in trips from the United States more than offset an increase from overseas countries.
Nearly 1.7 million visitors came to Canada from the United States, down 1.0% from October. At the same time, the number of visitors from overseas nations rose 1.1% to 387,000.
Travel of one or more nights from the United States declined 1.9% to 963,000 trips. Travel by plane was down 4.8% while travel by car fell 1.0%. On the other hand, same-day car trips to Canada increased 0.4% to 622,000 trips.
In November, 8 of the top 12 overseas markets to Canada posted increases in travel to Canada. The United Kingdom remained the top overseas market, followed by France and Germany. Travel from the United Kingdom to Canada fell 6.5% in November to 51,700 trips, while travel from France increased 1.8% to 39,500 trips and travel from Germany declined 0.5% to 26,200.
In the opposite direction, Canadian residents took 5.5 million trips abroad in November, up 0.3% from October. Most of these trips, 4.7 million, were to the United States, a 0.3% increase.
Travel of one or more nights to the United States fell 0.6% to 1.9 million trips in November. Travel by plane decreased 1.3% to 637,000 trips, while travel by car remained unchanged at 1.2 million trips. Same-day car trips by Canadians to the United States increased 1.1% to 2.7 million trips.
Canadians took 809,000 trips to overseas countries in November, up 0.2% from October and the highest figure since record keeping began in 1972.

Starwood Sees Strong Growth Momentum in North America in 2013


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. opened 23 hotels in North America in 2012 and signed more new deals than in the previous two years, including 21 conversions.
Looking ahead to 2013, Starwood anticipates itsstrongest year of openings in North America since before the global economic crisis with 28 scheduled openings. Conversions will continue to fuel growth with in-the-year conversions expected to result in additional new hotel openings this year.
North America remains our largest market with 576hotels and saw more hotels signed in 2012 than any other region in our vast network,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development. “We have opened over 135 new hotels in North America since theglobal economic crisis and expect pent up demand and limited new supply to continue to drive our growth in 2013.”
There are a number of positive trends in the North American hospitality market and we expect more than one-third of Starwood’s hotel openings around the world to be in the U.S. and Canada in 2013,” said Allison Reid, Senior Vice President of North America Development, Starwood. “Our strong brands, global scale and presence, powerful systems and growing base of loyal customers continue to set Starwood apart from our competition. We are seeing increased interest among owners in initiating new hotels with Starwood especially around conversions.”
Starwood’s “Specialty Select” or Mid-Market brands, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element, will continue charging across North America in 2013. Fast-growing Four Points by Sheraton, with its popular positioning around comfort, style, and affordability, is expected to surpass 120 hotels in North America and 190 globally in 2013. Over the past five years, the Four Points by Sheraton portfolio has surged by 15% in North America and the brand is now Starwood’s third largest with the second-biggest global pipeline.
Aloft, Starwood’s sizzling “style at a steal” brand, continues conquering markets wherever it plants a flag. This year, the brand will open its milestone 50th property in North America and 75th globally – and is on track to open nearly three times as many rooms this year as in 2012. Over the past three years, Aloft has grown its global portfolio by 67%, and expects to expand by another 25% in 2013. Aloft also signed eight deals in North America and an additional 17 globally during 2012 – the highest number since 2008.
Starwood’s stronger-than-ever upper-upscale brands, Le Méridien, Westin and Sheraton, will also see sustained North America expansion in 2013. After significant brand investment and transformation, Le Méridien is experiencing strong growth momentum, with eight new hotel openings globally slated for 2013.
Westin, whose singular positioning around wellness continues powering global growth, will open four hotels in 2013 in the U.S.: The Westin Birmingham, The Westin San Jose, The Westin Sacramento, and The Westin Houston Downtown – the 4th Westin in that city.
Starwood continues to have, and build on, one of the strongest North America luxury portfolios in the industry with its St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, and W Hotels brands. In 2012, the company signed The St. Anthony, A Luxury Collection Hotel, San Antonio – an external conversion set to open in 2014 as the second Luxury Collection property in Texas. With 85 hotels in nearly 30 countries, The Luxury Collection remains Starwood’s largest luxury brand, and with its appeal to independent hotel owners it continues to grow, increasing its global footprint by 70% since 2007.

Turkey returns to the top 10 Cheapest Destination in UK


The new Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer monitors the price of eight popular tourist items in over 40 holiday destinations worldwide - including dinner for two, light refreshments and sun cream.
  • Spain and Sri Lanka share the top spot for value of 42 destinations surveyed
  • Turkey returns to the barometer top 10 after resort prices fell 16 per cent in the past 12 months; Portugal and Bulgaria also feature among the 10 cheapest destinations
  • Falling prices in Bali and Vietnam have helped these fast-rising Far East destinations to overtake Thailand and take fourth and fifth places in the Worldwide Barometer
  • Prices have fallen 20 per cent in Egypt, thanks to sterling’s surge in value against the Egyptian pound and lower resort costs. As a result, the mid haul favourite has risen to 13th place in the barometer table - and is 45 per cent cheaper than its rival, Dubai.
Source:Focus on Travel News

Brussels Airlines launches direct flights between Brussels and Washington


Starting 18 June Brussels Airlines will operate direct flights between Brussels Airport and Washington Dulles. The American capital will be served 5 times per week. Thanks to the flight schedule passengers will be able to connect smoothly to many other US Destinations with Star Alliance partner UNITED.
After the successful launch of a daily service to New York last year, Brussels Airlines launches a second trans-Atlantic destination, Washington Dulles International Airport. There is a big market demand for flights between the European and the US capital, with Washington being the third most important intercontinental destination in the Belgian market, in terms of passenger numbers.
We are extremely happy to be expanding Brussels Airlines’ intercontinental network and to be able to further reinforce our presence at the American East Coast”, says Brussels Airlines CEO Bernard Gustin. “With this new flight we're not only aiming at passengers flying to Washington or Brussels, but we are connecting the entire Brussels Airlines network with Washington and with the extended US network of our partner UNITED. Thanks to our own flights to Washington and New York and thanks to our cooperation with Star Alliance partners UNITED and Lufthansa we will offer more than ever the best travel possibilities to the United States.”
While Washington is mostly known for the White House, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, the city and the region have much more to offer for tourists, like the world renowned Smithsonian Museums, the National MallArlington, the botanical gardens and the many libraries. Washington is also an important university city
Brussels Airlines will operate 5 flights per week to Washington with Airbus A330 aircraft. Passengers can expect the new Brussels Airlines product with full flat beds in Business Class, ergonomic seats in Economy Class and state of the art in-flight entertainment in both classes. These new cabins were introduced only a few months ago and are already being quoted by the industry as one of the best trans-Atlantic travel products. Passengers flying to and from Washington will be able to earn and spend Miles & More miles.
Flight schedule (in local times):
Flight Number

Route

Departure

Arrival

Days of week
SN515

Brussels - Washington DC

17h30

20h15

2/4/5/6/7
SN516

Washington DC - Brussels

22h35

12h10

2/4/5/6/7
(flight time: 8 hours and 45 minutes)
With a late afternoon departure from Brussels Airport, passengers will arrive in Washington in the early evening. Thanks to the cooperation with partner airline UNITED they can smoothly connect to 44 destinations in the United States and Canada, including Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Orlando. The Brussels-Washington flight also connects smoothly with Brussels Airlines’ European flights, including important cities like Berlin, Copenhagen, Madrid, Milan, Hamburg, Nice and Toulouse. The Washington flight times also allow connections with the African network to Abidjan, Cotonou, Yaounde, Douala and Lomé, among others.
Departure flexibility
Thanks to the cooperation between Brussels Airlines and UNITED Brussels will be connected to Washington 12 times per week starting as from 18 June. Passengers can combine both flights, which offers more departure flexibility and more connection possibilities. To make this new trans-Atlantic service possible, Brussels Airlines will add an additional (the 8th) Airbus A330 to its long haul fleet.

SkyTeam Launches Round the World Fares Promotion


SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, is launching a fare promotion for customers planning a Round the World trip in 2013.  With 1,000 destinations to choose from, globetrotters can take advantage of a 10% discount off SkyTeam’s lowest economy class Round the World fare. The promotion is valid on tickets of up to 26,000 miles purchased from 1 February until 31 March 2013.  Tickets must be purchased seven days in advance of travel.
SkyTeam added 77 new cities to its worldwide network last year, thanks to four new members joining the alliance in 2012. SkyTeam’s 1,000 destinations now include exciting locations such as: Ushuaia and Iguazú in Argentina; Colombo in Sri Lanka; and Macau in Greater China.
To help customers maximize their travel options, SkyTeam has enhanced its Round the World planning tool on skyteam.com.  This easy-to-use, online service helps customers select flights for their ideal journey. Once customers have built an itinerary, they can share it with Facebook friends by posting their travel plans directly on their walls.
“Top of our Facebook customers’ travel wish-lists for 2013 are exciting cities such as Rio de Janeiro, London, New York, Beijing and Sydney, all of which are within easy reach from every continent thanks to the combined route maps of our 19 members,” said Jerome d’Anglejan – Director Sales, SkyTeam.  “SkyTeam’s Round the World promotional fare is bringing customers even closer to their dream destinations by offering savings they can put to better use while enjoying their travels.”
An example of a SkyTeam Round the World itinerary possible within the promotional fare conditions* of a maximum of 26,000 miles:
 
Madrid - Buenos Aires - Sydney - Ho Chi Minh City - Moscow – Madrid
*Promotional fare conditions
·         Booking must be made before 31 March 2013, using the flights of any of the 19 SkyTeam member airlines
·         Travel can begin 7 days after purchase
·         First outbound intercontinental flight must be flown before 30 June
·         The maximum stay is six months, the minimum stay is ten days
·         A maximum of five stopovers is permitted
·         Total travel may not exceed 26,000 miles
Customers wishing to take advantage of SkyTeam’s Round the World Fare promotion should contact their local SkyTeam member airline reservation center or a travel agent for further details and bookings.
To check out SkyTeam’s Round the World travel planner, click here. A version of the Round the World Planner is available exclusively for travel professionals on SkyTeam’s dedicated travel trade website, skyteam.biz.

EASA updates European roadmap to tackle aviation safety risks


The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has just released an updated roadmap to tackle key aviation safety risks. Released in a document known as the European Aviation Safety Plan (EASp), 86 key safety actions to tackle operational, systemic and emerging aviation safety issues are identified for implementation until 2016.
The EASp creates a common focus for the entire European aviation community. Through its risk analysis and actions, the EASp is the outcome of an overarching Safety Management System for the European region. It creates a practical link between high-level safety issues and actions to be implemented by States, partner organisations, the aviation industry and EASA itself.
Commenting on the release of the EASp, Patrick Goudou, EASA Executive Director, said, “The third edition of the EASp is at the heart of a European aviation Safety Management System – one which identifies the hazards, assesses the risks, and provides actions to mitigate those risks”.
The EASp also contains information on progress made since the previous edition of the Plan. One recently completed deliverable of the EASp has been the publication of the European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions (EAPPRE).
This Action Plan, aimed at all providers and users of European aerodromes and all European aircraft operators, is the result of the combined and sustained efforts of organisations involved in all areas of runway operations. Eurocontrol led its development with support from EASA and the European Commercial Aviation Safety Team.
Central to the recommendations is the uniform and consistent application of ICAO provisions. The Action Plan also contains practical recommendations with guidance materials to assist operational staff.
The European Aviation Safety Plan (EASp) covering the 2013-2016 period can be downloaded from here:http://www.easa.europa.eu/sms/docs/European%20Aviation%20Safety%20Plan%20(2013-2016)%20-v1.0%20Final.pdf
The European Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Excursions (EAPPRE) can be downloaded from here:http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/European_Action_Plan_for_the_Prevention_of_Runway_Excursions

Green Cruising Showcased at Annual Cruise Convention


The Green Cruising Showcase — a special section of the trade show — is set to debut at the 2013 Cruise Shipping Miami Exhibition, slated for Tuesday, March 12 through Thursday, March 14. The Showcase brings together exhibitors supplying environmental solutions to cruise linesinto a single pavilion and provides a platform for those exhibitors to present their products and services directly to representatives of majorcruise lines attending the event.
With the increasing emphasis on environmental best practices and stricter regulations on everything from cleaning products to coatings to recycling and wastewater treatment, cruise companies are sourcing products and services that comply with regulations and improve efficiencies. The Green Cruising Showcase enables providers of the latest products and technologies in the environmental arena to speak directly to cruise line buyers.
Based on the feedback we received from the cruise lines about the increasing importance of the environmental perspective of the cruise business, we felt it was imperative to provide a way to enhance interaction between suppliers and buyers,” said Daniel Read, director of the Cruise Shipping Portfolio for UBM Live, the show organizers. “The result is the Green Cruising Showcase, which highlights the latest in environmental solutions and gives exhibitors a platform to network with and tell their stories to their market and key stakeholders.”
Not only will suppliers of “green” products and services be collected into a dedicated sector pavilion for the first time, exhibitors will give 25-minute product talks in an innovative presentation theater located on thetrade show floor.
Source: NewmanPR

Ready, Set, Go: Your Guide to Cruise Europe


If you’re anything like me – you like to travel. To see the world. To experience different cultures and destinations. To cruise Europe is fun, and if you’ve never done it, planning it needs to be fun.
But if you’re anything like me when it comes to planning these amazing trips, you don’t always know where to start. In fact, it’s really quite overwhelming.
Recently, I sat down to plan a cruise to Europe this summer. After staring at the computer for a few minutes, the first thing that came to mind was to check out kayak.com (a handy website that shows airfare from most of the major carriers in one place) and see what airfare looked like. Well, small problem – there are a lot of airports in Europe and lots of possible destinations.
I needed to stop and truly figure out what I really wanted to do and see. I knew it would be a cruise; it’s my favorite form of travel. You unpack only once and all the destinations come to you – what’s better than that?
Every trip starts somewhere and this one starts now. Over the next six weeks, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step progress of planning a trip to Europe. Since this is my first time, I’ve enlisted some help. Sarah Phillips, an avid traveler and cruiser, is joining us to share her planning knowledge. As her family’s personal vacation planner, one of her many trips planned was to Europe in May 2011 on the Carnival Magic Inaugural sailing. She was thrilled with the thought of helping anyone plan a trip – in her eyes, planning’s part of the adventure.
Her first piece of advice to me – don’t put the cart before the horse. Know what you want before you actually start looking to book anything.

To get started, grab some paper and a pen and ask yourself and your traveling companions the following questions:

;
  • Where do I want to go?
  • How much do I want to spend – what’s my budget?
  • What do I want to see?
  • When is the best time to go?
  • How long do I want to go for?
  • Who do I want travel with (think about the demographic of people and the cruise ship)?
  • What kind of ship do I want? Newer? Upgrades?
  • Is trip location or ship more important to me?
  • What kind of accommodations do I want to have?
  • What documents will I need? Will I need a Visa in addition to my passport?
  • What’s the most important part of this trip?
  • What am I most looking forward to with this trip?
Once you’ve answered the questions, you should be prepared to make a decision on where and when you’re going on vacation. I’ll share my answers with you next week. In the meantime,here’s a preview of what we’ll cover in this series.

Check it out:

;
  1. Get There – Airfare and Transportation
  2. Stay There – Hotels
  3. Play There – What to do on your trip (includingshore excursions)
  4. Eat There – Restaurants and other tips on food
  5. Get Ready – How to pack, tips and other common sense advice
  6. Got Questions? – FAQ with answers to your questions

Celebrity Millennium in Next ‘Top Chef’ Episode


top-chefCelebrity Cruises  has provided the unique setting for an episode of Bravo’s TV show Top Chef culinary competition series, now in its 10th season.
Wednesday’s episode (January 30), airing at 10 pm Eastern/9 pm Central, was filmed onboard the 2,158-guest Celebrity Millennium and the 2,170-guest Celebrity Infinity while sailing in Alaska.
During the episode, chef’testants were challenged to navigate the intricacies of Celebrity’s trendsetting, top-quality culinary operation – with multiple galleys and diverse dining options – and prepare dishes served to guests onboard. Three Top Chefjudges also were onboard to join in the action and assess the chef’testants’ results.
This week, Celebrity is taking its own cuisine to the heart of Manhattan with “A Taste of Modern Luxury,” an exclusive pop-up restaurant at The Kitchen NYC. Celebrity’s own James Beard-featured chef, John Suley, will serve items from a three-course menu that includes several onboard favorites as well as dishes inspired by the culinary flavors of Manhattan. Divinely concocted libations from Master Mixologist Junior Merino, aka “The Liquid Chef,” will be served from his concept, The Molecular Bar, featured onboard. Thoughtfully paired beverages — from superior wines to local brews – and artful desserts round out the dining experience.
Tickets to all other lunches and dinners at Celebrity’s Manhattan pop-up restaurant are available atwww.celebritycruisespopupnyc.eventbrite.com. Proceeds from ticket sales go to the Celebrity CruisesScholarship at The Culinary Institute of America.
In 2012, Celebrity became the first cruise line to cook dinner at the legendary James Beard House in New York City, and the first cruise line to open a land-based pop-up restaurant, which debuted in San Francisco.
Source: Celebrity Cruises

Passenger Demand Grew as Air Cargo Declined in 2012


Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced full-year traffic data for 2012 showing a 5.3% year-on-year increase in passenger demand and a 1.5% fall for cargo.
The 5.3% increase in passenger demand was slightly down on 2011 growth of 5.9% but above the 5% twenty-year average. Load factors for the year were near record levels at 79.1%. Demand in international markets expanded at a faster rate (6.0%) than domestic travel (4.0%). In both cases emerging markets were the main drivers of growth.
The 1.5% fall in demand for air cargo compared to 2011 marked the second consecutive year of decline, following a 0.6% contraction in 2011. The freight load factor for the year was 45.2%.
Passenger demand grew strongly in 2012 despite the economic bad news that dominated much of the last twelve months. This demonstrates just how integral global air travel is for today’s connected world. At the same time, near-record load factors illustrate the extreme care with which airlines manage capacity. Growth and high aircraft utilization combined to help airlines deliver an estimated $6.7 billion profit in 2012 despite high fuel prices. But with a net profit margin of just 1.0% the industry is only just keeping its head above water,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
In contrast to the growth in passenger markets the air cargo market contracted by 1.5%. The industry suffered a one-two punch. World trade declined sharply. And the goods that were traded shifted towards bulk commodities more suited for sea shipping. The outstanding bright spot was the development of trade between Asia and Africa which supported strong growth for airlines based in the Middle East (14.7%) and Africa (7.1%),” said Tyler.
December 2012 vs.
December 2011

RPK Growth 
ASK Growth
PLF
FTK Growth
AFTK Growth
International                    
5.0%
2.8%
77.9
-0.5%
-2.0%
Domestic
2.9%
2.7%
77.9
1.0%
-1.5%
Total Market
4.2%
2.7%
77.9
-0.3%
-1.9%
2012 vs. 2011
RPK Growth 
ASK Growth
PLF
FTK Growth
AFTK Growth
International                    
6.0%
4.0%
78.9
-1.9%
0.6%
Domestic
4.0%
3.8%
79.5
1.4%
-1.2%
Total Market
5.3%
3.9%
79.1
-1.5%
0.2%
International Passenger Demand
International passenger demand grew by 6.0% in 2012. The strongest growth came from emerging markets, particularly the Middle East (15.4%), Latin America (8.4%) and Africa (7.5%). Capacity grew more slowly than demand (4.0%) supporting a near record level international load factor of 78.9%.
  • Asia-Pacific carriers saw passenger growth of 5.2% in 2012 which was stronger than the 4.0% growth in 2011, though the 2011 figures were affected by the Japanese tsunami. The 2012 performance was in line with the global average and contributed about a fifth of the total industry growth. After a slow start, the fourth quarter was boosted by a revival in the Chinese economy and strengthening momentum in Asian exports and imports. Capacity expansion of just 3.0% for the year kept the load factor at a healthy average of 77.5%.
  • European airlines’ passenger traffic expanded 5.3% in 2012, sharply down on the 9.5% growth of 2011. Growth was generated by the long-haul performance of Eurozone airlines (within-EU travel stagnated due to slow economic growth). Additionally, around a quarter of the growth in European airline international traffic came from airlines outside of the Eurozone (Turkey being a major contributor). Capacity increased by 3.1%, pushing the full-year average load factor to 80.5%. Combined with other benefits of industry consolidation, the European industry broke even on the year—a much stronger financial performance than would be expected under such harsh economic conditions.
  • North American carriers reported the slowest international passenger growth of any region at 1.3% (down from 4.1% in 2011). Restructuring, consolidation, and tight capacity management (down 0.3% for the year) delivered the highest load factor (82.0%), contributing to an estimated $2.4 billion profit.
  • Middle East airlines contributed almost a third of the total expansion in international passenger markets with 15.4% growth (ahead of the 8.9% growth recorded in 2011 that was impacted by the Arab Spring). This was achieved with a capacity expansion of 12.5% while improving the load factor to 77.4%. The region’s carriers increased the connectivity of their expanding hubs with significant increases in both network (destinations) and frequency. Despite the expansion, the improved load factor indicates that the growth is sustainable and that airlines in the region have been successful in attracting new passengers.
  • Latin American carriers recorded 8.4% demand growth in 2012. This was the second-strongest performance (after the Middle East) and was supported by rising incomes and falling unemployment in the region (particularly Brazil). Capacity expanded more slowly than demand (7.5%) and the load factor stood at 77.9% for the year.
  • African airlines had a solid year of growth, up 7.5%, as the continent’s economic expansion drove traffic demand. Capacity expansion of 7.1% was just below traffic growth. This improved the load factor to 67.1%, but it was still the weakest of all regions. 
Domestic Passenger Demand
Domestic air travel grew by 4.0% in 2012. China (9.5%) and Brazil (8.6%) were the strongest performers. India was the weakest with a 2.1% contraction on 2011 levels. Total capacity growth (3.8%) was in line with demand (4.0%) and the domestic load factor stood at 79.5%.
  • US traffic expanded by 0.8% in 2012 (down from 1.5% in 2011), and capacity grew by just half of that at 0.4%. This supported an 83.4% load factor—the strongest among the major markets. The slowdown reflects the maturity and subdued economic growth of the US market which accounts for about half of all domestic travel.
  • China and Brazil showed the strongest demand growth in 2012, of 9.5% and 8.6% respectively. They both increased capacity, but Chinese capacity growth of 11.3% outstripped demand, whereas Brazil’s 4.8% was around half the traffic increase. Nevertheless, at 80.9%, Chinese load factor remained strong, and considerably higher than Brazil’s 71.8%.
  • Japan’s domestic market saw demand grow by 3.6% in 2012 while capacity expanded by 2.3%. Japanese domestic demand continues to suffer from a weak economy that stalled the recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s domestic market remains 7% smaller than pre-tsunami levels with the weakest load factor (62.0%) among the major domestic markets.
  • Indian domestic travel shrank by 2.1% on 2011 levels. Weak economic growth was exacerbated by increasing operational costs, insufficient infrastructure, high taxes and onerous regulation. Capacity growth fell to 0.3% (from 16.2% in 2011) and the average load factor for the year was 72.9%.
Air Cargo (Domestic and International)
Air freight markets declined for a second straight year, falling a further 1.5% in 2012 after a 0.6% decline in 2011. Air cargo has come under pressure from a slowdown in world trade growth, and shifts in the freight commodity mix. Expanding emerging economies have driven demand for bulk items carried by sea, while economic weakness in the West dampened demand for high-value consumer goods transported by air. Freight capacity grew just 0.2% over the year, and the freight load factor was 45.2%.
  • Asia-Pacific airlines (the largest players in the air cargo market) reported a 5.5% decline in demand and cut capacity by 2.4%. As the world’s major manufacturing center, the region suffered from the slowdown in demand from Western markets. The freight load factor, although remaining the highest of all regions at 56.1%, fell more sharply than anywhere else, hurting cargo profitability.
  • European and North American carriers also saw falls in freight demand, of 2.9% and 0.5% respectively. European carriers increased its capacity by 0.3% which led to the load factor falling to 47.2%. North American carriers managed to reduce capacity by 2.0%, ahead of the fall in demand, but it still left the region’s freight load factor at 35.0%, the second weakest of any region.
  • Latin American airlines saw freight demand decline by 1.2%, but capacity grew 4.9% over the year, leaving the load factor to fall to 38.3%.
  • African and Middle Eastern carriers were beneficiaries of new trade lanes and developing trade links between the two regions. Freight demand grew 7.1% and 14.7% respectively, both improvements on 2011 when the Middle East expanded 8.2% and Africa declined by 2.1%. The Middle East had the fastest capacity expansion of any freight region (11.4%) but the load factor still improved to 44.8%. Africa’s freight capacity grew 9.2%, outstripping demand. The freight load factor fell to just 24.7%, the lowest of any region by a significant margin. 
The Bottom Line:
We are entering 2013 with some guarded optimism. Business confidence is up. The Eurozone situation is more stable than it was a year-ago and the US avoided the fiscal cliff. Significant headwinds remain. There is no end in sight for high fuel prices and GDP growth is projected at just 2.3%. But improved business confidence should help cargo markets to recover the lost ground from 2012. And the momentum built-up at the year-end should see the passenger business expand close to the 5% historical growth trend. 2013 will not be a banner year for profitability, but we should see some improvement on 2012,” said Tyler.
In its December outlook for 2013, IATA projected that 2013 would see 4.5% growth in passenger markets and 1.4% growth for cargo demand. That will contribute to an improvement in profitability from $6.7 billion (1.0% net profit margin) in 2012 to $8.4 billion (1.3% net profit margin) in 2013.
View full December traffic results (pdf)