Despite the concerns about air travel lately, there's a bit of good news for the industry: Passenger traffic is up slightly from last year, the International Air Transport Association said Wednesday.
IATA, a trade group that represents 240 of the world’s airlines, reported that passenger traffic demand rose 4.7 percent in June compared to June 2013, a slight deceleration from May’s growth of 6.2 percent.
Demand for international air travel was even stronger, rising 5.5 percent compared to the same month last year. Middle East carriers posted the strongest gains, showing an increase in demand of 10.8 percent. Latin American airlines were in second place with a 7.1 percent increase in traffic, while North American airlines experienced just a 3.1 percent increase in traffic. African airlines were the only ones to post a reduction in demand, 2.7 percent from the previous year.
IATA director and CEO Tony Tyler described the numbers as encouraging. “Earlier signs of a softening in demand are dissipating,” he said in a statement.
But Tyler recognized that concerns about air travel given recent world events such as the downing of a commercial plane in Ukraine and fears over an Ebola outbreak could further slow growth. “While that’s good news, there are many risks in the political and economic environment that need careful monitoring,” he said.
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“Risk is today’s reality, whether it’s conflict in the Middle East, sanctions and an impending trade war with Russia, possible default in Argentina or the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. All have the potential to dent demand,” he added.