Premium air traffic increases

The
number of passengers buying premium airline tickets increased in June as
economic recovery kept first and business class seats filled, the airline
industry body IATA has said.

Demand
for premium tickets was up 16.6 per cent compared with a year ago.

That
contrasts with a 9.5 per cent rise for economy seats, after recession and
austerity measures in some countries dampened demand for leisure travel.

Increased
passenger numbers and ticket prices lifted premium revenue by 40 per cent.

There
were regional variations in the demand for seats with Asian, South American and
Middle Eastern markets strong, while transatlantic routes were sluggish.

The
230 members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) include American
Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Lufthansa.

IATA
expects airlines to return to the black this year, with profits of $2.5 billion
against earlier forecasts of a $2.8 billion loss.

But
it said there were signs that growth had slowed in the second quarter as
economic activity returned to pre-crisis levels.

Year-on-year
growth in the second quarter, adjusted for the disruption from the Icelandic
ash cloud, slowed to 9 per cent.

“This
sort of slowdown should be expected as the post-recession rebound and business
inventory cycle boosts disappear,” an IATA spokesperson said.

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