Officials at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have released global air travel demand statistics for January showing a continuation of the uptick in passenger travel that began at the end of 2012.
Overall, demand was up 2.7 per cent on the previous January which is slightly ahead of the 2.2 per cent expansion in capacity.
Load factors stood at 77.1 per cent.
Strong demand for air travel driven by the Chinese New Year has distorted the January figures.
Chinese New Year fell in January 2012 and in February this year.
The comparisons to such a strong month made January 2013 demand look weaker than the underlying trend would indicate.
After adjusting for such seasonal factors, IATA estimates that the actual growth would have been 3.5 per cent.
This growth is still lower than the 5.3 per cent 2012 average.
However, air travel growth slowed sharply through the year and the results of the past few months represent an acceleration of demand growth.
“Passenger travel is growing in line with business confidence levels.
“Recent months have seen some positive economic signs emerge in both the US and China, and the Eurozone crisis seems to have stabilised.
“Of course risks remain; the impact of US budget cuts has yet to play out and fuel prices are high. But even with those headwinds—real and potential—we still see underlying support for continued and potentially even strengthened growth,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.