Global passenger traffic up 6.8% in May: IATA

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IATA has reported a 6.8% year-on-year growth in global passenger traffic but a 4% decline in freight traffic in May 2011.

Global passenger capacity grew 5.8%, and the passenger load factor was 77.1%, said IATA. The international market saw a growth of 8% in passenger traffic and an 8.1% increase in capacity, as compared with May 2010.

The domestic passenger market showed a 4.8% growth over the previous year, outpacing a capacity increase of 2%.

In the cargo market, international freight traffic declined 4.3% against a capacity increase of 3.6%. Domestic freight traffic fell 2.3% while capacity declined 0.1%.

IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said that there are risks associated with the Middle East and with the European currency crisis.

"We still expect the industry to make $4 billion this year. That is a pathetic 0.7% margin and another shock could alter the industry's fortunes dramatically. It's another tough year for a very fragile industry," added Bisignani.

Since the beginning of the year, freight volumes have increased by 2%. This is lower than the 5.5% IATA forecast for 2011, said the association.

While the continued expansion of world trade at around 6% annually could lend support to accelerated freight growth in the second half of 2011, the performance so far this year has been lower than expected, added IATA.