Premium Airline Passenger Traffic up 8.6% in March

Much of the current growth in the airline industry consists of the major airlines in the United States competing for passengers who want to travel across the ocean. That is why it is good news for pilots aspiring to fly for the airlines to know that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that international premium traffic for March was up 8.6% compared to the year-ago growth of 2.9% recorded in March 2011, and up from 6.3% growth in February.

Although the March growth rates are exaggerated by the events of a year ago, air travel still looks strong, IATA said in its latest premium traffic monitor. “We estimate that premium travel was about 4 points higher this March than it would have been in the absence of the Arab Spring and Japan earthquake—but that still has the market growing at a solid rate of over 4% in March. Over the last four months, premium travel has been increasing at an annualized rate of over 6%, above the annual growth of 5.5% in 2011,” IATA said.

Economy travel also showed a strong growth of 8.9% year-over-year, up sharply from 1.1% growth recorded in March 2011.

Despite continuing economic weakness in some parts of the world, demand for air travel continues to grow. The 6.1% overall growth recorded for April is above the much talked about 20-year trend forecast by Boeing and Airbus.