The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed a slight increase in passenger numbers during July as it confirmed its monthly traffic results.
Passenger travel was up 5.9 per cent when compared to July 2010 the trade body confirmed.
Freight markets were, however, stagnating with a 0.4 per cent demand decline over previous year levels.
“Passenger travel bucked the gloomy economic outlook with a 5.9 per cent increase in July,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general.
“This increase was likely based on the much more optimistic economic outlook that marked the beginning of the year.
“With business and consumer confidence now tanking, sluggishness in international trade, and high fuel prices, the expectation is for a weaker end to the year. We are already seeing this in the shrinking air freight markets, which were 0.4 per cent down on the previous year.”
International passenger markets, which grew by 7.3 per cent compared with July 2010, remain stronger on average than domestic markets which showed weaker growth of 3.5 per cent year over year.
Compared to pre-recession levels of early 2008, international passenger traffic has expanded by 12 per cent.
Had the industry continued to grow at the pre-recession pace of eight per cent, international markets would have been about 14 per cent higher than today’s levels and a quarter higher than pre-recession level.
This confirms that the global financial crisis has cost airlines about two full years of growth.
Load factors for the total market (domestic + international) have improved by half a percentage point over July 2010 to 83.1 per cent, according to IATA.
This is equal to the highs recorded in quarter three of 2010.
North American carriers (86.9 per cent) and European carriers (84.1 per cent) were in the lead.
Latin American carriers saw the biggest improvement (from 76.5 per cent last July to 79.6 per cent this year).