ZURICH - Passenger demand in October rose 0.5 percent from a year ago, while air freight fell 0.5 percent, International Air Transport Association data showed on Monday.

Passenger demand is now 6 percent better than the low point reached in March 2009, but 5 percent below the peak recorded in early 2008, IATA said.

Air freight, a key barometer of the strength of world trade, tends to pick up early in the economic recovery cycle when businesses start to replenish their inventories.

IATA represents 230 airlines including British Airways (BAY.L), Qantas (QAN.AX), United Airlines (UAUA.O), Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) and Emirates [EMIRA.UL]. It forecasts the sector will lose $11 billion on a net basis this year and $4 billion in 2010.