Air traffic hits 'speed bump' in June: IATA

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The Independent Travel

Global passenger traffic growth eased in June as a slowdown in the world economic recovery coupled with higher oil and tax charges clipped airlines' wings, industry association IATA said Thursday.

The International Air Transport Association said passenger traffic was up 4.4 percent year-on-year last month, slowing from May's 6.8 percent growth.

June's numbers were also lower than the post-recession rebound, which was at an annual rate of close to 10 percent, IATA noted.

"Compared to May both passenger and cargo markets contracted by about one percent. For passenger traffic, this is a speed-bump in a gradual post recession improvement," said newly-appointed IATA director general Tony Tyler.

"The slowdown reflects slower economic growth and increased costs resulting from higher jet fuel prices, and increased taxation in some countries," he added.

The global economy has been beset by worries over debt contagion in the eurozone as well as a stuttering recovery in the United States.

Meanwhile, oil prices have remained consistently high since violence erupted in the Middle East and North Africa while Germany and Austria became the latest nations to impose an aviation tax this year, cutting into airlines' profits.

Asia-Pacific carriers continued to smart from the effects of the Japan's March 11 earthquake-tsunami, with demand in June registered at 3.3 percent, nearly half the global average of 5.9 percent.

Demand for air travel grew the strongest among Latin American carriers last month as they reported a year-on-year increase of 14.3 percent, with European airlines in second place as they clocked 8.9 percent growth due to a weaker euro.

Middle Eastern carriers recorded a 6.4 percent increase in demand while North American airlines experienced 2.3 percent growth last month.

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