International passenger traffic grew 5.9% in Q1, 2006: IATA

New Delhi, April 28 | Updated: Apr 29 2006, 05:30am hrs
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported a 5.9% growth in international passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2006. It has also reported a 5.2% growth in the international freight traffic in the same quarter as opposed to 2005.

According to IATA, for the month of March, the passenger growth dipped to 5.7% while freight registered a 6.2% growth. The slight fall in passenger traffic growth, according to IATA, is attributed to the slowdown in movement due to Easter holiday period.

This is the fourth consecutive month with freight growth above 5%, the strongest rally for freight traffic in a year. It reflects strong economic prospects in fast developing India and China and a stronger outlook for expansion in the US, Giovanni Bisignani, IATAs director general and CEO said.

Passenger load factor averaged 74.4% during the first quarter and 75.5% for March indicating a close matching of capacity to demand, IATA said in a statement.

Commenting on the increasing oil prices, the IATA CEO said: The 25% hike in fuel prices over the last two months is an enormous burden to the industry. However, the $1.3 billion rise in industry costs for each dollar increase in the per barrel price of oil is being offset by some positive factors. Cost reduction is continuing to drive the breakeven fuel prices upwards, said Mr Bisignani.