CAPE TOWN (AFP) - Global air-passenger traffic grew by 3.2 per cent in April, compared to a year ago, driven by travel in emerging markets, the global airline industry body said on Thursday.
"We see strong growth among African, Asia-Pacific, Middle Eastern and Latin American airlines," International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief Tony Tyler told journalists in Cape Town.
Middle Eastern airlines were the strongest performers, growing by 10 per cent, followed by Asia-Pacific at 4.7 per cent and Africa at 4.6 per cent. Latin America grew by 2.8 per cent.
Growth was more modest in Europe where demand increased by 2.2 per cent in North American where the market rose 0.6 per cent.
The seasonally adjusted rate for April was nearly five per cent, the airline industry body said.
Marginally ahead of demand, capacity was up 4.4 per cent from last April, pushing the load factor downward by 0.9 per cent to 78.1 per cent.
If adjusted for seasonality, this remained at near record highs of 80 per cent.
The international flight market was up 3 per cent in April from the year before, while capacity grew 4.3 per cent.
North America was the only region to contract, shrinking by 0.5 per cent, while the Middle East topped international demand with a rise of 10.9 per cent.
Africa was the second-best performing region with traffic rising by 4.7 per cent from the figure for April last year.
Domestic demand was up 3.5 per cent, fuelled by China, with other markets shrinking apart from in Australia.
IATA will hold its annual AGM next week in Cape Town.