Global premium airline traffic increased in June

17.8.2010 (BBC)

The number of passengers buying premium airline tickets increased in June as
economic recovery kept first and business class seats filled, the airline industry
body IATA has said.   It has produced its Premium Traffic Monitor for June.

Demand for premium tickets was up 16.6% compared with a year ago.

That contrasts with a 9.5% rise for economy seats, after recession and austerity
measures in some countries dampened demand for leisure travel.

Increased passenger numbers and ticket prices lifted premium revenue by 40%.

There were regional variations in the demand for seats with Asian, South American
and Middle Eastern markets strong, while transatlantic routes were sluggish.    
[According to IATA, the unexpected result in Jun-2010 was for travel within Europe,
where the number of passengers travelling on premium class grew by 24.2%. ]

Growth slowdown

The 230 members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) include
American Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Lufthansa.

IATA expects airlines to return to the black this year, with profits of $2.5bn
against earlier forecasts of a $2.8bn loss.

But it said there were signs that growth had slowed in the second quarter as
economic activity returned to pre-crisis levels.   Growth was slower in June than
it had been in May.

Year-on-year growth in the second quarter, adjusted for the disruption from the
Icelandic ash cloud, slowed to 9%.

“This sort of slowdown should be expected as the post-recession rebound and business
inventory cycle boosts disappear,” an IATA spokesperson said.



see also


Premium traffic growth continues; expected to slow following rebound

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation


Long article containing interesting charts   illustrating aspects of the changes
in demand for premium traffic

On Europe, it states:

According to IATA, the unexpected result in Jun-2010 was for travel within Europe,
where the number of passengers travelling on premium class grew by 24.2%.

IATA stated: "This short/medium-haul market has been structurally weak in recent
years as business travellers increasingly move to economy seats in this region.
The growth is to a large part a one-off rebound from the exceptional lows at this
time last year. It may also represent some business traffic connecting through
the region to destinations in more economically buoyant parts of the world". However,
Europe’s external trade is strong and European companies have generated strong
profits during 1H2010, with IATA stating that "this may have stimulated business
and premium travel for this region". However, IATA cautioned: "We would not expect
these growth rates to persist.”

see also


Flight Global

17.5.2010 (three months earlier)

IATA latest estimates show premium travel still lags pre-recession levels

By Lori Ranson

Figures compiled for IATA examining premium travel for the month of March and
the first quarter of 2010 show that despite a recent impressive increase in premium
traffic, both volumes and yields remain below levels achieved prior to the global
economic downturn.

The association estimates in the first quarter of this year international premium
travel volumes increased 7.8% year-over-year, and 10.8% in March.

“However, despite faster recent growth, premium travel volumes were still some
15% below their pre-recession levels,” says IATA.

The number of international passengers travelling in economy also improved during
the first quarter, growing 7.4% year-over-year, and improving 8.8% in the month
of March.

Business travel demand is driving the growth in both international premium and
economy travel, says IATA. The association highlights a trend of recovering business
confidence and improving world trade as the drivers in the growth of business

However, IATA warns that “consumer confidence has not recovered in the same way
as business confidence”.

The markets showing the strongest growth in premium traffic are within the Far
East, as IATA statistics show a 24% increase in premium travellers in the region
during the first quarter.

Demand within Europe is much weaker as premium demand fell 3.1% during the first

IATA’s estimates of a 5.5% increase in premium travel across the North Atlantic
for the first three months of 2009, mirroring comments made by executives of US
network carriers during first quarter earnings discussions that premium traffic
in those markets is improving. However, economy travel in those markets grew 2.4%
in the quarter.

South America continues to show strong growth as premium travel within the region
grew more than 20% during the first quarter, and economy travel increased 10%.

The latest data from IATA show yields have improved from mid-2009 levels, but
“have not yet recovered the ground lost during the recession to the same extent
as travel demand”.

But IATA does highlight by the end of the first quarter premium yields.