Officials at the International Air Transport Association have released global passenger traffic results for March showing strong demand growth led by emerging markets with all regions showing gains.
Total traffic rose 5.9 per cent compared to March 2012.
Part of the rise may be attributable to traffic related to the Easter holiday, which occurred in March this year versus April 2012.
But the seasonally adjusted trend continues to show strong growth, with demand expanding at an eight per cent annualised rate in the six months since October 2012.
Capacity rose 3.5 per cent compared to the year-ago period, pushing up load factor 1.8 percentage points to 80.3 per cent.
“Strong demand for air travel is consistent with improving business conditions. Performance, however, has been uneven.
“Mature markets are seeing relatively little growth while emerging markets continue to show a robust expansion. Although oil prices have softened in recent weeks, they remain high against historical averages.
“In view of this, airlines are responding with a very cautious approach to capacity management,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.
March international passenger demand rose six per cent compared to the year-ago period, with capacity up 3.5 per cent, pushing up load factor 1.8 percentage points to 79.9 per cent.
Compared to February, traffic rose 0.4 per cent.
The strongest growth occurred in the emerging markets of Latin America and the Middle East.