IATA reports surprising growth of air travel, lifted by Asia
International air travel grew faster than expected in June led by a sharp improvement in Asia, airline association IATA said on Tuesday.
Passenger volumes returned to a level one to two percent above the pre-recession peak in the first quarter of 2008, the International Air Transport Association said in its monthly account of air travel.
Passenger demand in Europe nonetheless lagged behind the global increase of 11.9 percent in June.
"The industry continues to recover faster than expected, but with sharp regional differences," said IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani.
"Europe is recovering at half the speed of Asia with passenger growth of 7.8 percent compared to the 15.5 percent growth in Asia-Pacific," he added.
China drove growth in the Asia Pacific region, which recorded the most significant improvement in demand last month.
All other regions recorded double-digit growth, but Bisignani heralded a likely decline in the pace of the recovery underway this year.
"Business confidence remains high and there is no indication that the recovery will stall any time soon."
"But, with government stimulus packages tailing off and restocking largely completed, we do expect some slowing over the months ahead," he added.
Air freight grew by 26.5 percent in June, tailing off from growth of 34 percent a month earlier that was artificially boosted by additional cargo that had been delayed by the volcanic ash cloud over th Atlantic and Europe in April.
Nonetheless air cargo traffic was still tracking the general economic recovery, IATA said.
© 2010 AFP