Premium air travel holds up as economy falters
Geneva, April 19, 2011
Expansion of premium air travel held up relatively well in February as rising fuel prices and Mena unrest slowed industry growth overall, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said.
Iata, which has already reported overall growth in air travel as 6 per cent in February on a year-on-year basis, said on Tuesday that economy travel growth slowed to 3.3 per cent from 4.9 per cent in January.
However, more robust premium travel growth slowed only to 7.7 per cent from 8.1 per cent -- with growth driven by strong business travel and buoyant word trade.
Stripping out seasonal factors, Iata said economy travel volume has been trending down since October, with the seasonally adjusted number for economy 2 per cent lower in February 2011 than in October 2010.
There has been some loss of consumer confidence in Europe and in China, but U.S. consumers reported a sharp rise in confidence between October and February.
"The 34 per cent rise in jet kerosene prices over that period and the impact on travel costs may now be causing price-sensitive passengers to cut back on air travel," Iata said.
Iata predicted that subsequent months would show air travel hit by a further surge in fuel prices and by heightened unrest, along with the impact of the Japanese earthquake and a fall in business confidence during March. – Reuters