IATA declares 'weak' rise in first-class air travel

IATA reports small rise in first-class air travel
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Overall, there was only a small increase in the number of international air passengers travelling in first class in January. 

Statistics released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that worldwide there was a 2.6 per cent year-on-year rise, something it described as "weak". 

Despite this, IATA said there were "signs of a pickup in business confidence in the Eurozone and US, which could help ease some of the downward pressure on business-related international air travel". 

The Middle East and Far East experienced the largest growth in premium traffic in January (12.3 per cent), followed by Mid-Atlantic (11 per cent) and those travelling through Europe-Middle East (10.2 per cent). Meanwhile, routes connecting North America and Europe experienced a 3.7 per cent rise in sales of first-class tickets. 

Global passenger traffic rose overall by 5.2 per cent in January 2015, compared to a year ago. 

The IATA revealed that European carriers' saw international traffic increasing five per cent year on year. 

According to the IATA, this growth was driven in part by an increase in the usage of so-called low-cost carriers. 

Latin American airlines' experienced a comparable increase, with traffic rising by 5.6 per cent. 

Middle East carriers had the strongest traffic growth, with a rise of 11.4 per cent in January 2015, compared to January 2014. 

Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a rise of 4.7 per cent, while North American airlines saw demand rise by 2.7 per cent. 

Meanwhile, African airlines had the smallest increase in passenger numbers, experiencing just a 0.7 per cent rise in traffic. IATA speculated this was not related to the Ebola outbreak, but rather was a reflection of "negative economic developments in parts of the continent" including Nigeria where falling oil prices have caused havoc.   

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