International air passenger and freight demand rose in November, a clear sign of global economic recovery, although the improvement was accentuated by the sharp fall in traffic at the end of 2008.
Passenger demand rose 2.1 percent in November compared to a year earlier and air freight climbed 9.5 percent, data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed on Wednesday.
Demand continues to improve, but we still have a lot of ground... to recover. We cannot anticipate any significant improvement in yields in the coming months, said IATA chief executive Giovanni Bisignani.
The industry body forecasts the sector will lose $11 billion this year and $5.6 billion in 2010.
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.
The November numbers told a tale of diverging demand in the world's regional economies. Freight carriers saw a large rise in demand in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and North America, a more modest rise in Africa and a fall in Europe.
Passenger traffic rose strongly in the Middle East and at a slower pace in Latin America and Asia Pacific, but fell in Europe, North America and Africa.
Passenger demand is now 6.4 percent higher than the low point reached in the first quarter of 2009, IATA said, although it is still 6 percent off its early 2008 peak.
Freight demand is 20 percent higher than the December 2008 low, but remains 10 percent below its early 2008 peak.
IATA represents 230 airlines including Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and United Airlines.
(Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by Hans Peters)