Lift off for global premium aviation

Lift off for global premium aviation

The number of airline passengers travelling in premium class increased in June as the global economic recovery gains momentum, the airline industry body IATA has said.

Demand for first and business class tickets rose 16.6 percent compared with a year ago for IATA’s 230 members, which includes the heavyweight legacy carriers.

Economy class is also on the rebound, rising 9.5 percent during the month, as the appetite for leisure travel returns to pre-recession levels.

Increased passenger numbers and ticket prices lifted premium revenue by 40 percent.

Asian, South America and the Middle East were the strongest markets, while transatlantic and European routes remained sluggish.

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IATA expects airlines to return to profit this year, with a gain of $2.5bn against earlier forecasts of a $2.8bn loss.

But it said there were signs that growth had slowed in the second quarter as economic activity returned to pre-crisis levels.

Year-on-year growth in the second quarter, adjusted for the disruption from the Icelandic ash cloud, slowed to 9 percent.

“This sort of slowdown should be expected as the post-recession rebound and business inventory cycle boosts disappear,” an IATA spokesperson said.