International air traffic declined in October for the second consecutive month, the International Air Transport Association said today.
The fall-off was 1.3 percent compared with October 2007, smaller than the 2.9 percent drop in September.
And here's a strong indication that we can expect to see even more fare sales ahead on most international routes. Load factors -- the percentage of available seats filled with paying customers -- dropped 7.6 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively, on the all-important North Atlantic and Asia-Pacific routes, compared with October 2007. That means far more seats are flying empty, and until they're able to reduce capacity, airlines are going to be looking to fill those empty seats at whatever price they can get.
"While the drop in oil prices is welcome relief, recession is now the biggest threat to airline profitability," said Giovanni Bisignani, the executive director of the air transportation organization. He added that a "deepening slump" in airline cargo traffic (which fell 7.9 percent in October) is "a clear indication that the worst is yet to come."