Global premium air travel has grown at a faster rate than economy traffic during 2014.
The latest figures from IATA show that premium traffic rose by 3.9 per cent during the first eight months of the year, compared to a rise of 3.7 per cent for economy passengers.
But there are signs that the non-premium market is catching up with both premium and economy traffic recording a 4.5 per cent increase in August.
IATA said that the traffic increase in August was an improvement on a “notable weakening” of demand for air travel in June and July.
The markets to see the most growth in premium travel this year include Africa-Middle East up 8.9 per cent year-on-year, Middle East-Far East rising 8.8 per cent and Europe-Middle East up 7.6 per cent.
“The recent weakening of the eurozone economy is yet to have an obvious impact on air travel growth,” said IATA in its montly Premium Traffic Monitor.
“Growth on the North Atlantic (Europe-North America) market was 2.4 per cent in August year-on-year, slower than the trend so far this year, but still a notable contributor to the expansion in international passenger numbers.”
One premium air market to see a contraction in demand during August was in the Far East where passenger numbers within the region dropped by 2.3% compared to the same month in 2013.
“The slowdown in the within Far East market has been caused by notable declines in international travel for Thailand and Malaysia,” said IATA.
“The Thai economy is expected to eventually stabilise after the military coup in May, but latest data show significant falls in tourism and exports during recent months when compared to a year ago.
“In addition, Malaysia has experienced declining tourism activity following the MH370 and MH17 tragedies.”