IATA: March premium traffic ‘down significantly’

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Published: May 23, 2011

IATA reported that the international premium traffic rose 2.9% year-over-year, in March, which was “down significantly” from 7.8% growth recorded in February, owing to the “impact of the unexpected events in Japan and [the Middle East and North Africa] ,” IATA said in its latest Premium Traffic Monitor.

March economy travel growth rose 1.1% compared to March 2010, down from a 3.4% increase in February. “The decline of economy travel over the past five months is more of a concern than the recent fall in premium passenger numbers,” IATA said, noting that fuel prices climbed $ 40 per barrel over this period and airlines attempted to recoup these higher costs. “The adverse impact of this on price-sensitive economy is apparent,” the report stated.

The organization said the second quarter is “likely to continue to be weakened by events in Japan,” but pointed out that the comparison with the volcanic ash cloud “will exaggerate” the April year-on-year growth rate. The report predicted that premium travel will “pick up to 5%-6% growth in the second half of this year.”

The strongest premium traffic growth in March was recorded on routes within South America (up 29.6% compared to March 2010). North America-South America routes reported the next highest growth (up 20.1%), followed by Europe-Southwest Pacific routes (up 14.3%).

The worst performing routes in March were within Central America, declining 49.1% year-over-year, followed by routes within the Southwest Pacific (down 26.6%).

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