• European carriers showed the weakest growth at 8.3%, down from the 11.5% growth recorded in March. Poor economic performance prior to the ash crisis had seen European airlines lagging behind the rebound experienced by other regions.
• North American carriers recorded a 23.8% increase. While impressive, this was still below the 29.0% recorded in March.
• Asia-Pacific carriers, which make up 46% of international cargo operations, recorded growth of 33.2%, slightly below the 35.4% recorded during March.
• Middle Eastern carriers saw their growth rate slow to 25.9% from the 35.5% recorded in March.
• Latin American carriers saw the largest increase in cargo demand for the second straight month with a 63.0% increase - an improvement on the 47.9% recorded in March.
• African carriers also showed an improvement, from 51.4% in March to 54.6% in April.
“The ash crisis was a shock. While there is always a danger of the consequences of renewed volcanic eruptions, the impact on passenger confidence should be limited. Unfortunately, we are trading ash for two additional uncertainties - strikes and a growing currency crisis - both of which are also focused on Europe,” said Bisignani.
“The labor unrest plaguing Europe this year is unbelievable. It’s a tough competitive world. Airlines need to reduce costs to be competitive. Labor must realize that their pay checks are supported by the performance of the company. The middle of a very fragile recovery is not the time to be asking for salary increases or improved conditions. This mentality is divorced from reality,” said Bisignani.
Passenger demand fell as a result of massive flight cancellations centered in Europe during the six days in April following the eruptions of an Icelandic volcano.
The association announced international scheduled traffic statistics for May which showed an 11.7% increase in passenger traffic and a 34.3% jump in freight demand compared to May 2009.
The association says the decline of international passenger demand may be stabilizing.
The International Air Transport Association announced that international passenger traffic grew 8.3% and international freight traffic 3.6% in the first eight months of the year.