IATA: International passenger demand up in January


International air travel demand continued to improve in January, the International Air Transport Association reported Tuesday.

January’s demand was up 6.4 percent from a year earlier, with load factors of 75.9 percent, up from 72.2 percent in January 2009, the association said. North American carriers saw passenger demand rise 2.1 percent from a year earlier.

International Cargo demand jumped by 28.3 percent, with a load factor of 49.6 percent, up from 40.1 percent a year earlier.

But these numbers are more a reflection of how bad the situation was a year ago than how good it is now, the association said. January’s seasonally adjusted demand was up 0.5 percent for passengers and 3 percent for cargo from December’s numbers.

“Airlines have lost two to three years of growth,” Giovanni Bisignani, the association’s director general and chief executive, said in a news release. “We can start to see the future with some cautious optimism, but better volumes do not necessarily mean better profits. Passenger yields are still 15 percent below peak. And we expect 2010 losses to be $5.6 billion.”