Airline Industry Shows Signs of Recovery

After one of the worst slumps in decades, the airline industry in the U.S. and abroad is showing signs of a recovery.


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Air traffic among the world’s major airlines increased by 9.5% in February over the same period in 2009, according to the International Air Transport Assn., the trade organization that represents the world’s major airlines. Cargo demand jumped 26.5% in the same period, according to the group.

Among U.S. airlines, passenger traffic dropped by 2.9% in February compared with the same month in 2009, according to the Air Transport Assn. of America, the trade group for U.S. carriers. However, average air fares increased by 5%, bumping up total revenues for U.S. airlines 4.5% in February, according to the group. February marks the second consecutive month of revenue growth for U.S. carriers.

Cargo traffic among U.S. airlines rose 14% in January over the same period last year.

Although the increases in revenue and cargo loads signal improvements for the struggling industry, the numbers are in comparison with February 2009, when demand for airline travel and cargo transport was the lowest in years.

“We are moving in the right direction,” said Giovanni Bisignani, director-general of the International Air Transport Assn. “In two to three months, the industry should be back to pre-recession traffic levels. This is still not a full recovery.”