International air traffic up 9.3% in February: IATA

4 April 2012 (Last Updated April 4th, 2012 04:35)

International air passenger traffic rose by 9.3% in February 2012 compared to 2011, while freight traffic recorded a 5.1% growth during the period, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

International air passenger traffic rose by 9.3% in February 2012 compared to 2011, while freight traffic recorded a 5.1% growth during the period, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The IATA said that several factors inflated passenger traffic figure and distorted year-on-year comparisons, which included a drop in traffic caused by unrest in the Middle East last year and a carnival in Brazil in February, which took place a month earlier than in 2011.

Cargo volume also saw a positive distortion under the impact of Chinese New Year in January which pushed some deliveries into February.

Compared to January, passenger demand rose by 0.4% and cargo demand dropped by 1.2%.

IATA director general and CEO, Tony Tyler, said: "The outlook is fragile. Improvements in business confidence slowed in February."

"This will limit the potential for business class travel growth and it implies that an uptick for cargo is not imminent," Tyler added.

During the period, North America reported a 4.9% rise in demand when compared to 4.3% rise reported the previous year with an average load factor of 72.1%.

The passenger demand in Europe rose 7.6% with a 5% rise in capacity while the Asia Pacific region reported 5.9% rise in air travel demand with a 6.2% rise in capacity and have reported a load factor of 75.4%.

IATA reported that the Brazil, China, and India have recorded rise in domestic travel of 18%, 10% and 12% respectively, while China's load factor stood at 79.3%.

The US domestic market reported 5.2% demand growth during the period with a 4.4% rise in capacity while its load factors increased to 78.8%.

"We are ending the first quarter with a considerable amount of uncertainty," Tyler said

He added: "While the threat of a European financial meltdown seems more remote than it did only a few months ago, the political risks that aviation faces are growing."