International air travel increases again

The number of passengers travelling
by air increased worldwide in July compared to last year.

First and business class rose by
13.8 per cent and economy by 8.8 per cent, according to the latest study by the
International Air Transport Association.

“In July, growth in both seat
classes continued to be driven by business travel rather than leisure. Indicators
such as world trade and business confidence eased in July but remain positive,
supporting the expansion of the premium market. However the development of air
travel markets remains uneven. Persistently weak consumer confidence in the
West suggests that leisure travel will remain soft during the second half of
the year,” read the report.


Profitability key

However, premium class is still 8
per cent below its pre-recession peak, although economy travel is 3 per cent
higher than its previous highest level. Premium seats only comprise 8 per cent
of the total seats, but contribute 27 per cent of the ticket revenue.

“Clearly this market segment is key
to profitability for most network airlines. Year-on-year premium revenues have
been improving during the first half of the year, though it should be noted
that this rise is from the low point of the revenue cycle.

This better revenue picture
continues to be driven not only by improvement in the number of passengers but
also by a rise in average fare. For the first half of the year, average premium
fares for international travel, adjusted for seasonality, have been growing by
some 8 per cent,” said the transport body.

South America had the largest
expansion in July with 51.6 per cent and the slowest was the North Atlantic
market, due to weak economic conditions in Europe.