The International Air Transport Association has released traffic results for November 2012 which showed an improvement in both passenger and air freight demand.
Air travel was 4.6 per cent higher compared to November 2011, up on the October result of 2.9 per cent.
Air freight volumes edged up 1.6 per cent over the same period after declining 2.6 per cent in October, year to year.
Passenger capacity rose 3.2 per cent and load factor improved one percentage point to 77.3 per cent compared to the year-ago period.
“November brought some positive signs for air transport demand - particularly for air cargo.
“It is premature to consider this a turning point for air cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and regaining lost ground.
“But, when coupled with positive economic developments in the US and an improvement in business confidence in recent months, the conditions are aligning to see a return to growth in 2013.
“In 2013 we expect that cargo volumes will grow 1.4 per cent, and passenger traffic will increase by 4.5 per cent worldwide,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.
“Passenger markets have held up better than cargo in the face of adverse economic conditions.
“But the current level of air travel is just two per cent higher than at the start of 2012.
“This is considerably weaker than the long-term average growth rate,” said Tyler.
Compared to October, November passenger traffic grew 0.6 per cent.
The majority of growth came from domestic markets, particularly China.
November air freight volumes increased 2.4 per cent in October.
This reflects a shift in seasonal shopping to online retailers, which depend heavily on air cargo.
It also shows improved consumer confidence in the US.
Seasonally-adjusted air freight volumes have now risen back to the levels of mid-2012, after declines in the third quarter.