Arab uprising, Japan quake hit air travel: IATA

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Unrest in the Arab world and the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan are expected to have hurt first and business class travel in February and March, the International Air Transport Association said Wednesday.

"The unrest in Egypt, Libya and North African nations will have sharply reduced travel in the regions during February," said IATA in its latest monthly update on premium air travel.

IATA noted that traffic connected with Africa make up about six percent of the premium revenue market, and that "the ongoing political problems are certainly large enough to put a dent into the February passenger data."

The industry association also warned that as the Japanese market makes up 6-7 percent of first and business class travel, the recent earthquake and tsunami could have material impact on the sector.

"It is too soon to judge how the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March will affect air travel, but the market is large enough to have a materially adverse impact on the international total for that month," it added.

© 2011 AFP

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