European airlines achieved the strongest growth in international passenger traffic in August with a 7.9%increase, just slightly below a capacity expansion of 8.2%. Although domestic economies and leisure travel are weak, strong exports have led to increased business travel on international markets, new IATA figures show. Carriers also registered a record high level load factor of 83.9%.
While the August growth was the strongest in the industry, IATA noted that this is below the 10.6%demand expansion reported for the first eight months of the year indicating that markets are softening. Europe’s international traffic registered higher than the global average of 6.2% year-on-year growth, although this has decreased 1.8% compared to July 2011.
Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of IATA said growth would continue to slow for the rest of the year. “The industry has shifted gears downward. The pace of growth in passenger markets has dipped and the freight business is now shrinking at a faster pace. With business and consumer confidence continuing to slump globally there is not a lot of optimism for improved conditions any time soon,” he explained.
Middle East carriers posted the second highest increase in international traffic, (+6.7%), followed by those in Latin America (+5.6%), Asia Pacific (+5.3%) and African airlines (+5.2%). US carriers saw the smallest growth in demand at 2.9%.