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But profits remain "distant" says Bisignani
The decline in air passenger volumes is continuing to slow, figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed today (September 29).
Results for August showed demand down 1.1% year-on-year compared to the 2.9% decline seen in July.
Despite the improvement IATA's director general and ceo Giovanni Bisignani said airline profitability remained "ever distant" with lower frequencies pushing up unit costs.
IATA said airlines in August had lowered aircraft utilisation to match demand, resulting in improved load factors.
Fares last month also "continue to be depressed", down 22% for premium travel and 18% in economy class year-on-year, the Association said.
Mr Bisignani said: "Fares have stabilized, but at profitless levels. Meanwhile cost pressures are mounting from reduced aircraft utilization and rising oil prices. The industry is not out of the woods yet."
Passenger demand factoring in seasonal differences had improved on the March 2009 "low point," IATA said.
But demand was still 5% lower than in May 2008 when passenger traffic first showed a decline, the Association added.
The Middle East was the only world region not to see improved demand in August compared to July.
IATA said European and US carriers had seen smaller improvements as they were subject to "robust long haul markets" as opposed to smaller local economies.
Europe's airlines saw demand drop 2.8% in August year-on-year compared to a 3.1% decline in July.
The fall in demand on US carriers slowed to -2.5% in August compared to -3.2% the month before.