As many as 73 aircraft were delivered across the globe in January, IATA’s newest data show.
But this was six fewer than that were made in January 2017, the International Air Transport Association said.
The pronounced drop-off in aircraft deliveries in January followed the usual year-end spike seen in December, IATA said in its latest financial monitor.
Net storage activity made another modest negative contribution to the size of the fleet, with 127 aircraft being put into storage, and 103 returning into service, the report showed.
The number of available seats in the global airline fleet increased by 0.3% month-on-month in January, and by 5.4% compared to the same month in 2017.
Industry-wide free cash flows (FCF) in IATA sample of airlines increased to -3.3% of revenues in Q4, 2017, up from -5.9% in Q4, 2016. IATA noted that seasonal effects meant that free cash flow tend to be negative during the final quarter of each year.
This, it said, was driven largely by an increase in net cash flow from operations (to 11.3% of revenues, from 9.5%), but helped by a modest decline in capex too.
“As always, there was a range in performance at a regional level. Airlines in Asia Pacific saw a particularly large increase in net cash flows and also to invest the most of all regions,” IATA said.
Europe was the only region to see a year-on-year decline in FCF, reflecting a fall in net cash flow. IATA said a pick-up in economic and trade conditions supported premium-class demand in 2017.
The share of international origin–destination (O-D) passengers flying in the premium-class cabin increased to 5.3% in 2017 as a whole, up slightly from 5.2% in 2016.
However, with premium-class fares generally holding up better than those in economy, the premium cabin’s share of total international revenues increased to 27.2 %, up from 25.9%. Premium-class demand in 2017 was supported by the broad-based pick-up in economic and trade conditions, particularly on key markets to, from and within Asia.
That said, premium demand has lagged behind in a number of cases, notably between Europe and the Middle East, where impacts from travel bans and tighter government budgets in the Gulf region have taken a toll.
Year-on-year growth in industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) slowed to a 46-month low of 4.6% in January, although this was distorted by temporary factors including the later timing of Lunar New Year this year.
“The bigger picture is that global passenger traffic is carrying solid momentum into 2018, helped by buoyant global economic conditions,” IATA said.
Meanwhile, although the upward trend in seasonally adjusted freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) has slowed over the past six months or so, carryover effects helped year-on-year FTK growth to make a robust start to 2018 (8%), the report added.
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