The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its report for international air traffic for October and the numbers are not good. For the second consecutive month, global air traffic has declined.

IATA’s report shows that international passenger traffic declined by 1.3 percent compared to the same month in the previous year. The good news there is that the figure is smaller than last month’s 2.9 percent slump.

The report also revealed that October load factor was 75 percent, approximately 2 percent below previous year levels.

“The gloom continues and the situation of the industry remains critical. While the drop in oil prices is welcome relief, recession is now the biggest threat to airline profitability,” IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani said. “The slight slowing in the decline of passenger traffic is likely only temporary.”

According to IATA, North American carriers saw international traffic decline by 0.8 percent in October compared to the previous year, only slightly changed from the 0.9 percent drop in September. African carriers saw the largest decline with international traffic dropping by 12.9 percent in October.

“As the global economic downturn re-shapes the world’s financial industry, policy makers must also understand that change is needed in air transport. Unlike the finance industry, airlines are not asking for handouts. Commercial freedom, efficiency and a fair treatment in taxes are needed,” Bisignani added. “We need commercial freedoms to run this as a normal business.”

IATA, however, has not commented on the impact of the drop in fuel prices on global aviation. What is known at this time is the fact that customers are asking why airlines are still charging fuel surcharges when in fact fuel prices have dramatically decreased.

(With wire inputs)