Passenger numbers up but IATA remains gloomy

Passenger numbers up but IATA remains gloomy Middle Eastern carriers - including Etihad - have reported strong growth

Global passenger traffic grew by 6.2 per cent year-on-year in June, according to the International Air Transport Association, but the overall trend remained weak.

Between February and June this year, passenger demand increased by 2 per cent on an annualised basis, IATA said, but this was “a major slowdown’ from the eight per cent experienced from mid-2011 through to January 2012”.

Overall June capacity expanded by 4.5 per cent year-on-year, leaving load factor for the month at 81 per cent.

As has become customary in recent years, Middle Eastern carriers were the strongest performers.

Traffic in the region grew by 18.2 per cent, outstripping a capacity expansion of 13.4 per cent, leaving load factor at 78.6 per cent.

European airlines experienced growth of 7.3 per cent, ahead of the 4.3 per cent recorded in May this year.

However, IATA said, given the continuing economic uncertainty in Europe, the strong June performance was “more likely a result of volatility in weak market conditions”.

“The uncertainty that we see in the global economic situation is being reflected in air transport’s performance,” commented Tony Tyler, IATA director general.

“Although there are some pockets of solid performance, it is difficult to detect a strong trend - positive or negative - at the global level.

“Passenger markets have been growing more slowly since the beginning of the year and freight markets gains have been mostly very weak.”=