GENEVA (Reuters) - International air passenger traffic climbed 5.6 percent year on year in November, while freight traffic rose thanks to online shopping demand, the International Air Transport Association said on Wednesday.
Air passenger traffic edged up a more modest 0.2 percent from October, but freight traffic gained 2.4 percent on the month as U.S. seasonal online shopping boosted deliveries from the Asia-Pacific region, IATA said.
“November brought some positive signs for air transport demand — particularly for air cargo,” IATA chief executive Tony Tyler said in a statement.
“It is premature to consider this a turning point for air cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and regaining lost ground,” he said, adding: “But when coupled with positive economic developments in the U.S. and an improvement in business confidence in recent months, the conditions are aligning to see a return to growth in 2013.”
“In 2013 we expect that cargo volumes will grow 1.4 percent, and passenger traffic will increase by 4.5 percent worldwide.”
Airlines in Latin America and the Middle East enjoyed the biggest jump in international passenger traffic, up by 11.0 and 10.5 percent since November 2011 respectively.
Capacity grew slower than demand, up 3.1 percent globally, which means there were fewer empty seats than in November 2011 and airline profit margins should improve as a result.
The smallest annual rise in international traffic growth was the 2.6 percent among U.S. airlines, where capacity growth came to just 0.4 percent compared with a year earlier.
Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Hugh Lawson