World airline traffic expanded by 6.8 percent in August, enabling the industry to match an all-time record of 83.4 percent of seats filled, the International Air Transport Association said on Wednesday.
“August was a positive month for passenger travel,” IATA chief Tony Tyler said in a statement, pointing out that the overall passenger load factor, or percentage of seats filled, matched a record set in July 2011.
Passenger demand that month was up 6.8 percent year-on-year, with strong growth across all markets, but especially in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.
“The solid performance was also supported by a stabilisation of emerging market weakness and renewed confidence in Europe and North America,” Tyler pointed out.
Traffic on international routes was up 7.5 percent in August while demand for domestic travel was up 5.6 percent.
Middle Eastern carriers experienced the strongest year-on-year international traffic growth of 15.1 percent.
But this number was heavily impacted by the timing of Ramadan, when Muslims tend to travel less, IATA said, pointing out that the holiday fell in August in 2012 but in July this year.
Latin American airlines meanwhile saw international traffic grow 9.8 percent in August, while carriers in the Asia Pacific region recorded a 8.6-percent hike.
Modest economic improvements and rising consumer confidence also helped boost airline travel in Europe by 5.4 percent, while North American airlines saw demand rise 5.1 percent compared to August a year ago.
Tyler hailed the growth, stressing that “most indications (are) pointing towards an acceleration in the fourth quarter.”