Growth in premium-class air travel during the first half of this year was subdued as business sentiment plateaued.
Despite better results in June, premium travel expanded by just 3.2% from January to June, down from 4.8% growth for the full-year 2012.
That reflects business confidence flatlining during that period, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its traffic monitoring report.
Premium travel markets are driven largely by business travel demand, with traffic linked to world trade and international industries like banking and consultancy.
But over the last year world trade growth has been expanding more slowly than premium travel growth.
The weakness in developed markets has caused the international trade of advanced economies to decline overall.
By contrast, international trade in emerging economies has been increasing at a stronger rate, helping sustain the meagre growth seen today in business-related premium travel on routes linking emerging markets, said the Geneva-based industry body that represents about 240 airlines.
It noted that premium passenger tickets to international markets were 4.1% higher in June year-on-year, up from 2% growth recorded in May.
In July there was a small improvement in business confidence and a solid rise in export orders, aided by an end to the euro-zone recession in the second quarter and a pick-up in US business activity.
Looking ahead, improving business conditions should reduce downward pressure on premium travel growth, though acceleration in air travel growth in the months ahead is not guaranteed.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business