IATA: Global Traffic Falls 2.4% in April

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.

* 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 for striking. This mentality is divorced from reality,” said Bisignani.

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