Demand is growing says IATA

The International Air Transport Association has released
international traffic data for January to April 2006 showing 6.9% growth
in passenger demand and 5.7% growth for freight over the same period in
2005.Load factors for the first four months of the year achieved an
average of 74.8%.

“Strong economies are supporting strong demand growth for both freight
and passenger traffic. Even with the high price of oil and rising
interest rates there is no apparent drop in demand and carriers are
responding with careful capacity management that saw the April load
factors reach their highest point-76.5%-in the past decade,” said
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

April growth was particularly strong due to the impact of a late Easter
holiday. Passenger traffic grew by 9.9% over the previous April, while
capacity expanded by only 5.5%, driving load factors to 76.5%. For the
first four months of the year, the Middle East continued to lead growth
with an 18.3% increase over the same period in 2005.

Freight demand for the first four months of the year averaged 5.7%.
Middle Eastern carriers lead growth at 17.9%, followed by Latin America
(8.0%), Asia-Pacific (6.0%) and North America (5.9%). African and
European carriers lagged behind at 2.7% and 2.5% respectively.

“Strong demand is good news for an industry that continues to take a
beating from oil prices averaging US$20 per barrel more than in 2005.
Airlines continue to cut costs and improve efficiency, but it will still
not be enough to fully mitigate the price of fuel. Even more efficiency
and great change are needed. This will be at the top of the agenda as
the world’s aviation leaders gather this weekend in Paris for the IATA
Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit,” said Bisignani.