Demand for air travel and air freight rose strongly in May and now exceeds levels seen before the global economic downturn, the airlines body IATA said.
Passenger demand rose 11.7 percent from a year earlier, while cargo demand was up 34.3 percent, the International Air Transport Association said.
IATA’s 230 members include British Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines.
“Demand rebounded strongly in May following the impact of the European volcanic ash fiasco in April. Passenger traffic is now 1 percent above pre-recession levels, while the freight market is 6 percent bigger,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General.
European airlines recorded the weakest growth in passenger demand at 8.3 percent, while Latin American carriers recorded the fastest growth, with a 23.6 percent increase, IATA said.
Air cargo is seen as a leading indicator of the health of global trade.
Earlier this month, the Geneva-based IATA said government spending cuts and debt worries across Europe threatened to weaken demand for air travel on the continent.
Last month IATA said that in April, when the volcanic ash eruption in Iceland suspended flights across Europe and around the world, passenger traffic fell 2.4 percent year-on-year.