THE NUMBER of air passengers grew by 8.2 per cent last year, but airlines increased capacity by only 4.4 per cent, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures.
Middle eastern carriers performed strongest in 2010, with a growth in passenger demand of 17.8 per cent, followed by African airlines, which saw number rise by 12.9 per cent. The smallest increase was seen among European carriers, with a 5.1 per cent increase in demand. Asia Pacific carriers grew by 9 per cent, North American carriers by 7.4 per cent, and Latin American carriers by 8.2 per cent.
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and CEO, said airlines ended the year slightly ahead of early 2008 volumes, but with a "pathetic" 2.7 per cent profit margin.