The demand for premium air travel rose by 4.2 per cent in December compared to the previous year, according to the latest air traffic figures from IATA.

In December last year, premium travel numbers were up by 5.5 per cent on a year ago and in line with the November result of 5.4 per cent.

IATA said the growth in premium travel reflects improvements in the business environment. It said confidence is on the rise, with Europe and the United States both showing signs of economic improvement.

The figures showed the largest share (21 per cent) of the rise in premium travel in 2013 was due to strong growth in Asia. This market expanded 7.2 per cent in 2013, IATA said.

Economy international travel expanded 3.5 per cent in 2013, a significant drop on 2012, when growth was 5.9 per cent. The main reason for the decline in 2013 is the Far East market, where economy class travel expanded 4.3 per cent – less than half the pace of growth in 2012 (9.6 per cent).

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