Slump easing as biz class demand improves

Slump easing as biz class demand improves

Airlines are beginning to fill vacant business-class seats with the number of passengers traveling in premium seats in July falling 14 percent, better than the 21.3 percent decline in June.
The latest statistics from the IATA suggest recovery but as average fares remain weak, there is little immediate celebration.

“Premium travel on international markets, which is mostly for business, is closely correlated to world trade which bottomed out in May and started to turn up in June,” IATA said.

“This improvement in cross-border trade is boosting business travel but demand is still very weak compared to the recent past and there remains much excess capacity, producing intense competition.”

Premium seats are the most profitable for airlines and many business people have downgraded to economy or shunned air travel during the current economic crisis. Some of those decisions would seem to be changing but IATA said there was a “long way to go” before activity returned to levels seen in 2007 and early 2008.