The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for February 2019 showing total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 5.3%, compared to February 2018. This was the slowest rate of growth in more than a year but still in line with long-term demand trends. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 5.4%, and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 80.6%, which is still high by historic standards.
“After January’s strong performance, we settled down a bit in February, in line with concerns about the broader economic outlook. Continuing trade tensions between the US and China, and unresolved uncertainty over Brexit are also weighing on the outlook for travel,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
nternational Passenger Markets
February international passenger demand rose 4.6% compared to February 2018, which was a slowdown from 5.9% growth in January. Capacity climbed 5.1%, and load factor dropped 0.4 percentage point to 79.5%. Airlines in all regions but the Middle East showed traffic growth versus the year-ago period.
- European carriers showed the strongest performance for a fifth consecutive month in February. Passenger demand increased by 7.6%, compared to a year ago, unchanged from January. Europe’s continuing strong performance provides a paradox given Brexit concerns and signs of a softer economic outlook. Capacity rose 8.0% and load factor slid 0.3 percentage point to 82.3%, which still was the highest among regions.
- Asia-Pacific airlines’ February traffic rose 4.2% compared to the year-ago period, a substantial slowdown from the 7.2% increase recorded in January. The timing of the Lunar New Year holiday in the first week of February this year may have shifted some traffic to January. Capacity increased 4.7% and load factor dipped 0.3 percentage point to 81.0%.
- Middle East carriers recorded a 0.8% traffic decline in February compared to a year ago, the only region to report a drop year-over-year. Capacity rose 2.9% and load factor fell 2.7 percentage points to 72.6%. Broadly speaking, passenger volumes of the region’s airlines have been moving sideways for the past 12 – 15 months.
- North American airlines’ traffic climbed 4.2% in February, a decline from 5.4% growth in January. Capacity rose 2.9% and load factor was up 1.0 percentage point to 79.0%. Signs of softening economic activity at the end of 2018, in conjunction with the effects of ongoing tensions between the US and several of its trading partners, may be mitigated by the region’s low unemployment and generally sound economic backdrop.
- Latin American airlines saw traffic rise 4.3% compared to February 2018, a slippage from 5.4% annual growth in January. Capacity increased by 5.6%, and load factor dropped 1.0 percentage point to 81.4%. Renewed economic and political uncertainties in a number of key countries may weigh upon air transport demand in coming months.
- African airlines experienced a 2.5% rise in traffic for the month compared to the year-ago period, down from 5.1% growth in January. Concerns over conditions in the largest economies are contributing to the slowdown. Capacity rose 0.3%, and load factor climbed 1.5 percentage points to 69.7%.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Domestic travel demand rose 6.4% in February compared to February 2018, down from 7.4% annual growth in January. All markets except Australia reported increases in traffic, with India recording its 54th consecutive month of double-digit percentage growth. Domestic capacity climbed 5.8%, and load factor edged up 0.5 percentage point to 82.4%.
- China topped the growth chart for a second month in a row, with RPKs up a strong 11.4% year-on-year, although this was down from 14.5% growth in January compared to a year ago.
- Brazil’s domestic traffic increased 5.8% in February, compared to a year ago, the fastest pace in more than six months and more than double the 2.6% year-over-year rise for January. Brazil was the only domestic market tracked by IATA to show an increase in the year-on-year growth rate compared to January 2019.
The Bottom Line
“While overall economic confidence appears to be softening, aviation continues to deliver solid results, helping to sustain global commerce and the movement of people. The Brexit deadline has come and gone with no separation agreement, but with vital air connectivity between the UK and the Continent maintained for the present. Temporary measures, however, are no substitute for a comprehensive Brexit package that will ensure that the Business of Freedom is able to play its vital role in contributing to the well-being of the region—and the world,” said de Juniac.
U.S. air travel to overseas markets totaled 41.8 million, up nine percent for the year. Regional results were:
- Europe, 17.7 million travelers, up 12 percent
- Caribbean, 8.3 million travelers, up five percent
- Asia, 6.3 million travelers, up eight percent
- Central America, 3.2 million travelers, up seven percent
- Middle East, 2.4 million travelers, up six percent
- South America, 2.1 million travelers, up nine percent
- Oceania, 861,000 travelers, up 11 percent
- Africa, 432,000 travelers, up seven percent
U.S. travel to North American markets totaled 51.3 million, up four percent compared to 2017.
- To Mexico, U.S. travelers totaled a record 36.9 million, up six percent
- ‘Tourist’ (longer haul travel) 19.1 million, up four percent.
- U.S. air travel to Mexico (10.1 million), part of ‘Tourist’, was up three percent
- Border (1+ nights travel) 17.8 million, increased eight percent.
- To Canada, 14.3 million U.S. travelers, ‘flat’ year-over-year. Air travel (4.6 million) was down four percent
Annual 2018 Market Shares
U.S. air travel to overseas locations accounted for 45 percent of total U.S. outbound travel, up one percentage point from 2017. Regional composition:
- Europe, a 19 percent share (up one percentage point from 2017);
- Caribbean, a nine percent share; (down one percentage point from 2017)
- Asia, a seven percent share;
- Central America, a four percent share;
- Middle East, a three percent share;
- South America, a two percent share);
- Oceania, a one percent share, and
- Africa, almost a one percent share
North American markets received 55 percent of all U.S. international outbound travel.
- U.S. travel to Mexico a 40 percent share;
- To Canada, a 15 percent share (down one percentage point from 2017).
For detailed information and data tables please click here.
Canada and Mexico numbers are preliminary. The chart will reflect final changes.
In 2011, NTTO (then OTTI) began to report U.S. outbound travel monthly by all modes, expanding beyond air-only traffic. Total travel, inclusive of all modes, to Canada and Mexico is reported in addition to the air-only subtotals. The timing of this report is dependent data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Stats Canada and Banco de Mexico (INEGI), respectively.
In aviation operations, managing fatigue is important because it diminishes an individual’s ability to perform almost all operational tasks. This clearly has implications for operational efficiency, but in situations where individuals are undertaking safety-critical activities, fatigue-effected performance can also have consequences for safety outcomes. Fatigue is a natural consequence of human physiology.
Because fatigue is affected by all waking activities (not only work demands), fatigue management has to be a shared responsibility between the State, service providers and individuals.
A brief history of flight and/or duty limitations
For most workers, hours of work are part of the working conditions and remuneration packages established through industrial agreements or social legislation. They are not necessarily established from a safety perspective.
However, the need to limit pilots’ flight and duty hours for the purpose of flight safety was recognized in ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in the first edition of Annex 6 published in 1949. At that time, ICAO SARPs required the operator to be responsible for establishing flight time limits that ensured that “fatigue, either occurring in a flight or successive flights or accumulating over a period of time, did not endanger the safety of a flight”. These limits had to be approved by the State.
By 1995, ICAO SARPs required States to establish flight time, flight duty periods and rest periods for international flight and cabin crew. The onus was on the State to identify “informed boundaries” that aimed to address the general fatigue risk for flight operations nationally. At no time have ICAO SARPs identified actual flight and duty hours because it had proven impossible to identify global limits that adequately addressed operational contexts in different regions.While ICAO SARPs apply only to international operations, many States also chose to establish similar flight and duty time limitations for domestic operations. States generally used the same flight and duty limits for helicopter crew as for airline crew.
The fallacy of flight and/or duty limitations is that staying within them means that operations are always safe. Buying into this fallacy suggests that scheduling to the limits is enough to manage fatigue-related risks. However, more recent SARP amendments related to prescriptive limits have highlighted the responsibilities of the operator to manage their particular fatigue-related risks within the limits using their SMS processes.
And then there was FRMS….
Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) represent an opportunity for operators to use their resources more efficiently and increase operational flexibility outside the prescriptive limits, whilst maintaining or even improving safety. In implementing an FRMS, the onus shifts to the operator to prove to the State that what they propose to do and how they continue to operate under an FRMS, is safe.
In 2011, SARPs enabling FRMS as an alternative means of compliance to prescriptive limitations were developed for aeroplane flight and cabin crew (Annex 6, Part I). At the time of development, it was necessary to address concerns that airline operators would take this as an opportunity to schedule purely for economic benefits at the cost of safety. Therefore, while often referred to as “performance-based” approach, the FRMS SARPs are nevertheless very prescriptive about the necessary elements of an FRMS and require the explicit approval of an operator’s FRMS by the State.
Since then, similar FRMS SARPs were made applicable for helicopter flight and cabin crew in 2018 (Annex 6, Part III, Section II).
But what about air traffic controllers?
Despite their obvious impact on flight safety outcomes, ICAO SARPs have never required the hours of work to be limited for air traffic controllers even though some States have had hours of duty limitations for air traffic controllers for many years. This is about to change. Amendments to Annex 11, becoming applicable in 2020, will require that ICAO States establish duty limits and specify certain scheduling practices for air traffic controllers. As for international airline and helicopter operations, States will have the option of establishing FRMS regulations for air traffic service providers.
Fatigue Management SARPs today
Today, ICAO’s fatigue management SARPs support both prescriptive and FRMS approaches for managing fatigue such that:
- Both approaches are based on scientific principles, knowledge and operational experience that take into account:
- the need for adequate sleep (not just resting while awake) to restore and maintain all aspects of waking function (including alertness, physical and mental performance, and mood);
- the circadian rhythms that drive changes in the ability to perform mental and physical work, and in sleep propensity (the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep), across the 24h day;
- interactions between fatigue and workload in their effects on physical and mental performance; and
- the operational context and the safety risk that a fatigue-impaired individual represents in that context.
- States continue to be obliged to have flight and duty time limitations but are under no obligation to establish FRMS regulations. Where FRMS regulations are established, the operator/service provider, can manage none, some or all of its operations under an FRMS, once approved to do so.
- Prescriptive fatigue management regulations now provide the baseline, in terms of safety equivalence, from which an FRMS is assessed.
In Airlines: The Fatigue Management amendments to the Annex 6, Part I, in 2011 led many States to reviewing their prescriptive limitation regulations for pilots based on scientific principles and knowledge (refer text box) and identifying further requirements for operators to manage their fatigue-related risks within the prescribed limits. Fewer States have reviewed their prescriptive limitation regulations for cabin crew.
In every case, despite a refocus on providing adequate opportunities for sleep and recovery, altering existing flight and duty limitations remains a very sensitive and difficult task because it impacts income and work conditions as well as the constraints of pre-existing employment agreements. It is made even more challenging for States whose flight and duty time limitations are legislated.
Where States have reviewed their prescribed flight and duty limits, the increased awareness of the relationship between sleep and performance has served to highlight the responsibilities of the individual crew member and the airline to manage fatigue, and in some cases have resulted in the prescribed limits sitting alongside a set of regulations that make these responsibilities more explicit, e.g. the FAA’s Fatigue Risk Management Program, EASA’s Fatigue Management requirements, CASA’s Fatigue Management requirements and CAA South Africa’s Fatigue Management Program.
|The scientific principles of fatigue management
Many States have established, or plan to establish, FRMS regulations, often at the encouragement of their airlines. The FRMS challenge for States continues to be whether they have the resources to provide the necessary oversight from a scientific and performance-based perspective, particularly when the same regulations usually apply to a variety of domestic flight operations. While FRMS requirements are onerous and time-consuming, the few airlines who have so far managed to get FRMS approval for particular routes have found the operational flexibility gained to be worth the effort.
|General scheduling principles
In Helicopter Operations: For some States, the recent amendments to Annex 6, Part II (Section II) have highlighted the need to establish flight and duty time limits for helicopter crew members that better relate to the context of helicopter operations, rather than using the same limits as for airline pilots. Within those limits, the helicopter operator is expected to build crew schedules that use both fatigue science and operational knowledge and experience.
A new fatigue management guide for helicopter operators, currently under development in ICAO, identifies general scheduling principles based on fatigue science to guide helicopter operators in building “fatigue-aware” schedules that offer optimum opportunities for sleep and recovery (refer text box).
The particular challenge in helicopter operations, however, is that so many helicopter operations are unscheduled. While some helicopter operators will be able to operate within prescribed limits and effectively manage fatigue risks using an SMS, many types of helicopter operations, such as those that require unscheduled, immediate responses, possibly in high-risk settings, will benefit from the operational flexibility and safety gains of an FRMS.
In Air Traffic Control Services: Next year, States are expected to have established prescriptive work hour limits for air traffic controllers, while FRMS regulations remain optional and can be established at any time. However, the nature of the relationship between the Air Navigation Services Provider (ANSP) and the State will influence how the implementation of fatigue management regulations will unfold. In most cases, the State provides oversight of only one ANSP and although there is a current trend for privatisation, many of the ANSPs are fully or partially owned by the State.
In an industry sector that is often largely self-regulated, the distinction between a prescriptive fatigue management approach and FRMS may become blurred. However, a refocus on safety and not only organisational expediency or personal preference is likely to have substantial effects on the way controllers’ work schedules are built in ANSPs across the world. This is a “watch this space”.
Fatigue Management Guidance for ICAO States
The Manual for the Oversight of Fatigue Management Approaches (Doc 9966) received another update this year – Version 2 (Revised) – and an unedited version (in English only) will shortly replace the current manual available for download here. On this website you can also find the following:
- Fatigue Management Guide for Airline Operators (2nd Edition, 2015)
- Fatigue Management Guide for General Aviation Operators of Large and Turboject Aeroplane (1st Edition, 2016)
- Fatigue Management Guide for Air Traffic Service Providers (1st Edition, 2016)
- The Fatigue Management Guide for Helicopter Operators (1st Edition) is expected to be available later this year.
The Fatigue Management Guide for Helicopter Operators (1st Edition) is expected to be available later this year.
The author, Dr. Michelle Millar, is the Technical Officer (Human Factors) and the NGAP Program Manager at ICAO. She heads the ICAO FRMS Task Force and has been involved in the development of ICAO fatigue management provisions since 2009. Her academic background is in sleep, fatigue and performance.
With Britain deeply divided over Brexit, an exhibition by one of the country’s best-known and celebrated photographers, Martin Parr, vividly captures images which help one to understand what makes the country tick. New and previously-unseen photographs revealing Parr’s unique take on the social climate in the aftermath of the EU referendum, have gone on public display for the first time in a major new exhibition of his works at the National Portrait Gallery, London.
“Only Human: Martin Parr” brings together some of the photographer’s best-known works with the focus on one of his favorite subjects – people. Featuring portraits of people from around the world, the exhibition examines national identity today, both in the UK and abroad, with Parr’s characteristically-wry observations of Britishness.
Although best known for his images of ordinary people, Parr has also photographed celebrities throughout his career. For the first time, “Only Human: Martin Parr” reveals a selection of portraits of renowned personalities, most of which have never been exhibited before, including British fashion legends Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith, contemporary artists Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry, and world-renowned football player Pelé.
Parr is modest and refreshingly self-deprecating. He does not judge his subjects, letting the photos speak for themselves. His works record the way the British look at themselves before and after the Brexit debate and at other moments of change. At the press preview, Parr explained that his intention was to examine identity and reflect what the British think of themselves and how others see them.
The exhibition charts Parr’s changing interests and perspectives as he grows older. As well as Britain in the time of Brexit, the exhibition focuses on the British abroad including photographs of British Army camps overseas, and Parr’s long-term study of the British “Establishment” including recent photographs taken at Christ’s Hospital school in Sussex, Oxford, and Cambridge Universities and the City of London, revealing the obscure rituals and ceremonies of British life.
Some of his new works explore the quirks of leisure activities today, a subject Parr has explored since the 1980s. Parr photographs trips to the beach, tennis tournaments – from Wimbledon to the US Open – and a day at the races, to reveal the eccentricities of everyday life. These images take the visitor on a color-saturated journey through places where public and private worlds intersect.
Other photographs capture the infectious joy of dancing, an everyday activity enjoyed by people across the globe. There are photos of men stripping off their shirts along with their inhibitions in hot and sweaty dance clubs and others taken at more formal balls in Oxford and Cambridge.
“Only Human: Martin Parr” also features the unforgettable self-portraits Parr has made throughout his career. For over thirty years, Parr has visited studio photographers, street photographers, and photo booths across the globe to have his portrait taken. The resulting Autoportraits raise questions about portraiture and the business of portrait photography, showcasing a range of fascinating and often humorous settings employed by professional portraitists. Works on display include his Photo Escultura, a group of shrine-like carved photo-sculptures, based on Parr’s likeness and commissioned from the last remaining traditional maker in Mexico City, which have never been exhibited in the UK before.
The exhibition also includes a pop-up café inspired by Martin Parr’s iconic food photography and the traditional British “caff.” Visitors can purchase a selection of Great British tea-time treats and beverages such as a “nice cup of tea” and a slice of Battenberg, or an exclusive “Only Human” beer created in collaboration with British craft brewery Lost and Grounded Brewers, Bristol, during the Gallery’s Friday Lates (18.00-21.00).
Dr. Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, said: “We are delighted to be able to display so many new works by one of Britain’s most widely-celebrated photographers in this major new exhibition. Martin Parr’s witty, surprising, and ingenious photographs not only reveal the eccentricities of modern life with affection and insight, they also change the way we look at ourselves, and the way we consider our relationship to the wider world. ‘Only Human’ contributes to an ongoing debate about what it means to be British in an international context and reflects on the shared cultural and social history that defines the United Kingdom during a moment of change.”
Philip Prodger, curator of “Only Human: Martin Parr” says: “Provocative, surprising, and ultimately uplifting, Martin Parr explores the great issues of our time with sensitivity, compassion, and a sense of fun. This is an exhibition that will make you think and leave you with a smile on your face.”
Martin Parr has been able to build his lifelong interest in people-watching into a successful and lucrative professional career. He loves all things British, embracing its diversity but admits to being a Remoaner and finding some extreme attitudes difficult to accept. He observed ruefully, you have to have a sense of mischief or you’ll end up crying. Parr said: “I am very excited to have the opportunity to show my work at such a prestigious gallery. One of the main themes is British identity, and given March 2019 is when we are supposedly leaving the European Union, the timing could not be better.”