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International Air Travel Continues Growth

International air travel showed 4.6% growth last month over October 2010, according to the International Air Transport Association. This is in line with an overall upward trend, albeit at a slowing pace. International passenger load factors stood at 77.6%, down from the 79.5% recorded at the same time last year. Cargo demand was 4.7% below the same month in 2010.

“Cargo is the story of the month. Since mid-year the market has shrunk by almost 5% and this is far greater than the 1% fall in world trade. Air freight is among the first sectors to suffer when businesses confidence declines,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. While business confidence has declined considerably in recent months, industrial output has not. But in anticipation of weaker economic activity, there is a shift to cheaper and slower modes of transport.

In stark contrast to the decline in air freight, the trend for air travel remains upwards, but with very strong regional differences. Despite the deepening euro-zone crisis European carriers have shown above trend demand growth of 6.4%. “With Europe accounting for 29.2% of global air travel, this suggests that the current overall strength in air travel is based on fragile foundations,” said Tyler.

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