May air traffic up, but Mideast unrest pose risks: IATA

30th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Air passenger traffic rose 6.8 percent in May, industry association IATA said on Thursday but warned of risks from unrest in the Middle East and the eurozone debt crisis.

"We saw positive developments for the air transport volumes in May," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association.

"These will help to alleviate some of the pressure on profits from continued high fuel prices," he noted.

"But there are risks associated with political unrest in the Middle East and the European currency crisis," Bisignani warned.

The popular uprising leading to regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia depressed growth for African carriers, which recorded growth of just 1.1 percent over a year ago.

Middle eastern carriers proved more resistant in the face of the unrest, posting an increase in demand of 7.8 percent against May 2010.

The devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan meanwhile held down growth for Asia-Pacific carriers, which reported an expansion of 4.7 percent, well below the global average of 8.0 percent.

Latin American airlines were this month's stars, posting the strongest demand with a jump of 21.3 percent compared to May 2010.

European carriers also recorded 10.9 percent in growth, as more travellers took advantage of the euro to visit the region.

North Amercian carriers meanwhile saw their traffic rise 4.5 percent.

© 2011 AFP

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