And Now Air Traffic Is Nearing Pre-Recession Levels

The airline industry is still under pressure, but traffic volumes are surging and are just about to retake pre-recession levels of traffic in both passenger and freight.


These are strong gains, but it must be noted that February 2009 marked the bottom of the cycle for passenger traffic during the global economic recession. Passenger demand must recover by a further 1.4% to return to pre-crisis levels. Cargo hit bottom in December 2008, with little improvement realised by February 2009.

Cargo traffic, which plunged much further than passenger demand, has a further 3% to recover in order to return to pre-crisis levels. “We are moving in the right direction. In two to three months, the industry should be back to pre-recession traffic levels. This is still not a full recovery. The task ahead is to adjust to two years of lost growth,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Given that passenger traffic (RPK below) grew 7.9% year over year so far this year, and that freight traffic (FTK below) jumped 28%, the industry should be able to easily retake pre-recession levels of volume.


If you compare the February year over year data, vs. the year to date data, then it appears that the entire world, including North America and Europe, accelerated its traffic growth (RPK and FTK).


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