GENEVA – Asian airlines are starting to sell more premium as well as economy seats, outperforming other regions where economic fears continue to weigh on travel, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday.

In its latest industry snapshot, IATA said that increasing numbers of passengers were taking long-haul flights within Asia alongside the export-driven economic rebound that has put China and other countries on a steadier footing.

“The strongest rise in economic and business activity has been seen in the Asia-Pacific regions, where private sector balance sheets are less encumbered with debt and bad assets,” it said, describing full cabins in the Far East.

However, the Geneva-based group cautioned that short-haul European business travel “remains extremely weak” and North Atlantic flights are just starting to show improvement. “The turnaround in economy travel has been driven by consumer confidence in major economies, which has been rising since hitting a low in February,” it said, while warning that the breakaway Asian results reflect “the uneven nature of the current economic upturn.”