Air travel rebounds to pre-recession levels

Air travel rebounds to pre-recession levels

A sharp increase in demand for air travel during May has seen aviation traffic return to levels last seen before the 2008 recession.

According to the latest date from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), demand for scheduled passenger traffic increased 11.7 per cent in May when compared to a year earlier.

This was matched a 34.4 per cent jump in freight traffic.

“Demand rebounded strongly in May following the impact of the European volcanic ash fiasco in April,” explained IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani.

He added air passenger traffic is now one per cent above pre-recession levels, while the freight market is six per cent bigger.

Middle Eastern carriers led the market, with a 17.5 per cent increase in passenger demand over the period, followed by Africa (16.9 per cent) and Asia-Pacific (13.2 per cent).

While American carriers saw a 10.9 per cent increase in demand in May, Europe lagged behind the global curve, seeing an 8.3 per cent rise in passenger demand during the month.

Back to Black

Earlier this month the IATA suggested airlines would return to the black during 2010.

As late as March this year the Montréal-based organisation had forecast the global industry would lose $2.8 billion over the year.

However, this has now been revised to a $2.5 billion profit as recovery trends accelerate.

Capacity Increase

IATA figures reveal a capacity increase of 4.8 per cent in May this year lagged behind the strong upturn in passenger demand. This pushed the international passenger load factor to up to 76 per cent.

“In the short-term, airlines need to focus our efforts on nurturing the recovery by continuing to match capacity carefully to improving demand conditions,” added Mr Bisignani. 

“And everybody must control costs. This includes airports, air navigation service providers, global distribution systems and labour.

“There are no exceptions,” he concluded.