World airline passenger traffic fell 3.1 per cent in 2009,the biggest drop in aviation industry history,fuelled by the global financial downturn,the International Civil Aviation Organization said. Preliminary figures for airline travel this year showed that international traffic declined by about 3.9 per cent and domestic traffic by 1.8 per cent,despite sharp growth in some regions.
Total passenger traffic both domestic and international fell in all regions except the Middle East,which posted 10 per cent growth. All other regions recorded negative growth,with Africa hardest hit at minus 9.6 per cent overall,the ICAO said.
The 3.1 per cent drop in passenger traffic this year compared to 2008 was the largest on record for the industry and reflects the one per cent drop in the world gross domestic product for the year, the organization said in a statement.
The double-digit domestic passenger traffic growth in the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America,and the relative strong performance of low cost carriers in North America,Europe and Asia Pacific helped curtail the decline in total traffic. The ICAO predicted a moderate recovery of 3.3 per cent growth for the airline industry next year,in line with improving economic conditions around the world.
For 2011,it forecast momentum to build to return to the traditional 5.5 per cent yearly growth rate in airline passenger traffic.
But in what could be soothing to the ears of the global airline industry,the rate of slowdown in business class traffic has declined in October from the previous month,the IATA said today. The airline yields also appear to have improved marginally,as premium travel numbers declined by 9.3 per cent in October compared with a 13.9 per cent fall in September.
Going by the latest figures of airlines around the world,the International Air Transport Association said the economy travel figures also showed an improvement with a positive 1.3 per cent growth,compared with 0.9 per cent in September. It said passenger numbers on international markets expanded further during October. Numbers travelling on economy seats were 1.3 per cent up versus a 0.9 per cent rise in September,whereas premium passengers were down 9.3 per cent compared with a 13.9 per cent fall in September, IATAs premium traffic monitor said. Both premium and economy travel volumes rose around six per cent from their respective low points,but were still below early 2008 levels,it said,observing that stronger world trade in the late summer appears to be generating more business travel.
All the larger markets,between Europe,Far East and North America were down between 1.7-2.6 per cent,with the exception of within Far East travel which was up 3.6 per cent,reflecting stronger economic recovery in this region. Travel volumes are moving upwards as economies recover but only half of the 2008 fall has been restored so far and a slower yield upturn has limited the improvement in revenues.
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