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Traffic Growth Slows in Line with Projections

“February traffic growth gave mixed signals. A slowing of global economic
activity saw passenger traffic fall to 6.6% year-on-year from the 7.9% reported in
January. The good news is that the resilience of air travel was once again
demonstrated in the aftermath of the Asian Tsunami. Growth for Asian carriers
returned to normal levels, partially boosted by Chinese New Year travel,” said
Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport
Association.February passenger traffic growth of 6.6% brought year-to-date passenger growth to
7.3%. All regions reported positive growth with the Middle East and Latin America
being the strongest performers. Asia Pacific largely recovered from the impacts of
Tsunami, posting a 7.9% year-on-year increase for February.

Cargo slumped by 0.9% in February, although year-to-date figures maintained positive
growth of 6.5%. Weaker global economic activity and a slump in Chinese imports
during the Chinese New Year period are largely to blame for this.

Year-to-date load factors remained high at 72.7%.  Latin American and North America
led with average load factors at 74.7% and 74.8% respectively for the
January-February period.

The cost of fuel continued to rise in February, mitigating the positive impacts of
both growth and careful capacity management. “If the average price of oil settles at
US$43 per barrel (Brent) for the year the total cost of fuel to the industry will
exceed US$73 billion. Clearly 2005 will be another year of industry losses, despite
aggressive airline cost cutting,” said Bisignani.

“Consolidation in European aviation last week was a small but important step in the
right direction for the industry. But we need governments that are not afraid of
taking big steps that will fundamentally change the structure of the industry,” said


“The return of a discussion on the North Atlantic Open Aviation Area to the
industry’s agenda is a golden opportunity for the US and Europe to lead change with
liberalisation. A modern set of rules that gives airlines the freedom to do business
like real businesses—without the constraints of archaic bilateral rules and
ownership restrictions—has never been more important to the health of our
industry,” said Bisignani.