IATA hits a positive note

IATA reports that 2011 ended on a positive note with passenger demand for the full year rising by 5.9% compared to 2010, and in line with long-term growth trends. However, growth in demand lagged behind passenger capacity increases at 6.3% and that put downward pressure on load factors. The average passenger load factor for 2011 was 78.1%, down from 78.3% in 2010. Tony Tyler, director general and CEO for IATA, commented: “Given the weak conditions in Western economies the passenger market held up well in 2011. But overall 2011 was a year of contrasts. Healthy passenger growth, primarily in the first half of the year, was offset by a declining cargo market. Optimism in China contrasted with gloom in Europe. Ironically, the weak euro supported business travel demand. But Europe’s primarily tax and restrict approach to aviation policy left the continent’s carriers with the weakest profitability among the industry’s major regions. Cautious improving business confidence is good news. But 2012 is still going to be a tough year.” In December, passenger demand for rose 5.4% compared to the same month in 2010. But the trend since mid-year has clearly slowed, as travel markets react with a lag to the declines in confidence that weakened cargo in the second half of 2011. Comparisons with December 2010 are also distorted as severe winter weather in Europe and North America as well as strikes in Europe suppressed demand. December 2011 passenger demand was up just 0.7% over November while the load factor declined 0.2 percentage points. Go to for more.