European airlines enjoyed a 9 per cent surge in demand for tickets in March, fuelled by expanding European exports to Asian economies and more business travel.
The latest figures from the International Air Transport Association said global traffic rose 7.6 per cent in March. Demand for freight transport climbed a fragile 0.3 per cent compared with a year earlier.
The figures are compromised by the fact that in March 2011 the Arab Spring and Japanese tsunami disrupted travel. Iata said the year-on-year rise in air travel in March was about 2 per cent higher than it would have been without the two events.
"passenger demand is holding up well," Tony Tyler, the chief executive of Iata, said. "But this is bringing little relief to the bottom line because yields are not keeping pace with the continued very high price of oil."