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Low fares drive increase in airline passengers

The airline industry enjoyed its highest passenger traffic growth for 12 years during the first six months of the year.

Global air traffic grew by 7.9 per cent up to the end of June while airlines also recorded a record load factor of 80.7 per cent for the first half of any year, according to the latest IATA figures.

IATA said the increase was down to improved economic conditions around the world as well as lower airfares due to intense competition between carriers.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general, said: “A brighter economic picture and lower airfares are keeping demand for travel strong.

“But as costs rise, this stimulus of lower fares is likely to fade and uncertainties such as Brexit need to be watched carefully. Nonetheless, we still expect 2017 to see above-trend growth.”

Airline traffic in June rose by 7.8 per cent compared with the same month in 2016 with all regions around the world experiencing passenger growth.

European airlines increased traffic in June by 8.8 per cent on the back of a capacity rise of 6.5 per cent with load factors improving by 1.8 percentage points to an average of 85.9 per cent.

The leading regions for traffic growth in June were Asia Pacific at 11.6 per cent and Africa at 9.2 per cent.

De Juniac added: “The demand for travel is strong and that, in turn, will make a positive contribution to the global economy.

“This growth will also further expose infrastructure deficiencies. In every part of the world airport and air navigation infrastructure is struggling to cope with demand.

“There are plenty of examples linking connectivity and economic prosperity. But few governments have been able to deliver on the imperatives of sufficient capacity, quality aligned with user needs and affordability.”

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