Rise in passenger demand during 2012

Air travel passenger demand grew by 5.3% in 2012, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association.

The increase was slightly down on 2011 growth of 5.9% but above the 5% 20-year average.

Load factors for the year were near record levels at 79.1%. Demand in international markets expanded at a faster rate (6.0%) than domestic travel (4.0%). In both cases emerging markets were the main drivers of growth.

Passenger demand grew strongly in 2012 despite the economic bad news that dominated much of the last twelve months,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s director general and chief executive.

“This demonstrates just how integral global air travel is for today’s connected world. At the same time, near-record load factors illustrate the extreme care with which airlines manage capacity.

“Growth and high aircraft utilisation combined to help airlines deliver an estimated $6.7 billion profit in 2012 despite high fuel prices. But with a net profit margin of just 1% the industry is only just keeping its head above water.”

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