Global airline passenger demand slowed in September following the summer peak amid rising fuel costs.

Demand grew by 5.5% year-on-year, down from 6.4% growth record in August, latest Iata figures show.

Overall capacity climbed by 5.8% and the load factor slipped for the first time in eight months, down 0.3 percentage points to 81.4%.

The impact of severe hurricanes and typhoons in September shaved around 0.1-0.2 percentage points off expected growth, the airline trade body estimated.

However, even after accounting for these impacts, monthly traffic demand was below the 6.7% year-to-date pace.

Iata director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “While September’s traffic growth was in line with the long-term average, it represents a moderation compared to recent months.

“This is likely owing to the anticipated reduced demand boost from lower air fares due to rising airline cost pressures, particularly fuel.

“Heightened uncertainty about trade policies and mounting protectionist policies may also be having an impact,” he warned.

“Last month, Iata released its latest passenger forecast showing that demand for air travel could double to 8.2 billion passengers in 2037.

“Aviation already supports 65.5 million jobs and has an economic impact of $2.7 trillion. With growth comes the opportunity to make an even bigger contribution to global well-being.

“But governments need to start preparing by investing in adequate airport and airspace infrastructure to support rising demand for connectivity.

“The recent decision to cancel construction of the much-needed new airport for Mexico City is a backward step that will have negative economic ramifications not only for Mexico’s economy, but also for connectivity options across the Latin American region.

“Aviation is the business of freedom. It improves lives and livelihoods and makes the world a better place.

“But to grow the benefits of aviation, governments need to do their part, by providing sufficient airport and airspace capacity, at an affordable price, and at a quality aligned with our technical and commercial needs,” said de Juniac.

Meanwhile, British Airways owner International Airlines Group reported a 6.6% rise in traffic in October over the same month last year as capacity went up by 6.7%.