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International air travel up 6.4pc in Dec

Geneva, February 1, 2012

International air passenger traffic rose 6.4 percent year-on-year in December, while freight traffic fell 0.8 percent, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said on Wednesday.

For 2011 as a whole, the number of passengers on international routes rose 6.9 percent while freight was down 0.6 percent, With domestic flights operated by its 240 members included, overall passenger growth was 5.9 percent while cargo was down 0.7 percent, according to Iata.

Iata airlines, which include major global carriers and most domestic operators but not low-cost airlines, account for 84 percent of world traffic.

The Geneva-based body's director-general and chief executive Tony Tyler said 2011 was a year of contrasts, with healthy passenger growth in the first half offset by a declining cargo market.

"Optimism in China contrasted with gloom in Europe.
 Ironically, the weak euro supported business travel demand," said Tyler.

"But Europe's primarily tax-and-restrict approach to aviation policy left the continent's carriers with the weakest profitability among the industry's major regions," he said.

In December, Iata said airlines faced over $8 billion in overall losses this year if the euro zone turmoil in Europe turned into a full banking crisis.

Even in the best-case scenario, the global industry was likely to see a decline in profit from $6.9 billion in 2011 to $3.5 billion in 2012, officials said at that time.

On Wednesday, Tyler said there had been heartening developments since then in the form of improving business confidence "and encouraging news from the US economy".  "(But) it is far too early to start predicting a soft landing (for the industry) for 2012."   - Reuters




Tags: Iata | Flights | Airlines | Air travel |

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