Global air travel up 7.4pc in April
Geneva, May 30, 2012
International air passenger traffic rose 7.4 per cent in April year-on-year, while freight traffic fell 4.5 per cent, the International Air Transport Association said on Wednesday.
The number of passengers on international routes has risen every month this year from unusually low levels in 2011 when political turmoil in Arab countries and an earthquake and tsunami in Japan disrupted travel.
Geneva-based Iata's director-general and chief executive Tony Tyler said the rise in passenger traffic was encouraging, adding that factors such as high fuel costs were still a worry for airlines.
'(Passenger growth) comes against an environment of continuing high oil prices and growing economic uncertainty. So translating the stronger demand into profits will be difficult,' he said.
Iata airlines, which include major global carriers and most domestic operators but not low-cost airlines, account for 84 per cent of world traffic.
There were signs the slump in cargo demand may have bottomed out, with the Middle Eastern airlines showing particularly strong growth, Iata said.
'It is possible to identify the start of a growth trend in cargo for some parts of the world. But economic uncertainty in Europe makes it very difficult to be optimistic in the near to medium-term,' said Tyler.
Middle East airlines’ traffic growth has started to pick up pace again, recording a 16.0 per cent gain in passenger demand for April, after having softened in the second half of 2011. Although this is a fall from the 20.9 per cent growth recorded in March, the March result was distorted by the impacts of the Arab Spring in 2011.
Furthermore, demand did grow faster than the 12.7 per cent capacity expansion in April and load factors remained high at 78.3 per cent
Middle Eastern carriers were the bright spot in cargo with a 14.5 per cent increase in demand. But this was behind a 15.1 per cent increase in capacity. African carriers showed a 6.1 per cent increase in demand, behind a 9.0 per cent increase in capacity.
– Reuters & TradeArabia News Service