May 4, 2012- IATA, the International Air Transport Association has announced that global traffic for March showed an increase in total passengers of 7.6% and demand for freight was up 0.3% compared to last year in March.
Comparisons to March of last year were distorted as events in the Middle East and Asia depressed the passenger demand. Those events included the Arab Spring and the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. IATA however, estimates the actual increase, not taking the events of last year into account, would have been 2%.
Demand for cargo was affected by the date of the Chinese New Year, which this year occurred in January, making for a stronger February, but last year took place during February and lead to the numbers being stronger in March.
Oil prices have stayed above the $100 price per barrel for over 14 months. In 2008, the price of oil jumped from $90 a barrel to its highest ever price of $147 per barrel in July. However, that price by November had fallen to below $50 per barrel. There has not been such a sustained high price of oil ever before. Prices of fuel are up 8% since the beginning of the year and that is hard as 34% of operating costs for airlines are fuel costs.
Passenger capacity was up 4.4% from March of last year, while international air travel increased by 9.5% last March compared to March of 2011. The strongest traffic growth was experienced by European airlines.