26 October 2010
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that the number of airline passengers continued to grow in September 2010, but warned that the aviation industry might not yet be clear of the problems caused by the recession.

International passenger demand rose by 10.5% in September 2010, compared to the previous year, stronger than the 6.5% rise seen in August this year. This growth in demand outstripped the growth in supply in all regions, with a global capacity increase of only 7.3% year-on-year, pushing global load factors up to 80%.

The Middle East showed the strongest growth, with an increase in traffic of nearly 24% year-on-year, followed by Africa, which was up 16%. Traffic in North America returned to pre-recession (early 2008) levels, with an 11.1% rise, while in Europe passenger numbers are now 2% above the pre-recession figures, with an 8.4% rise. Asia-Pacific airlines saw an 8.6% traffic increase, while for Latin America airlines, passenger numbers rose by 6.6%.

However, despite the rise in traffic, IATA warned that a larger than anticipated fall (12.1% below September 2009) in the amount of cargo that airlines carried last month reflects weak consumer confidence. IATA CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, said while September’s passenger growth is reassuring, the accelerating decline of air freight, including in Asia, is an early indicator of some turbulence ahead.

Mr Bisignani also warned that the effect of increased taxation in Germany and the UK could hamper the recent growth. He said that Government actions could impact the sustainability of the recovery with the use of austerity measures. When combined with new or increased taxation, as we have seen in Germany and the UK, the challenges are even greater. IATA restated their desire for
Governments to understand that air transport is an economic catalyst.