Industry "remains in the red"
The latest traffic results from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released today (October 29) show flat passenger demand year on year, while airline costs have risen.
Carriers have cut capacity to match demand but this has meant aircraft flying fewer hours, leading to a rise in non-fuel costs.
The price of fuel is also on the up. Oil prices rose to $75 per barrel in September, compared to $43 at the beginning of 2009.
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and ceo, said: "The worst may be over in terms of the fall in demand, but yields continue to be a disaster and costs are rising.
"The airline industry remains firmly in the red with a fragile business environment."
He added that the hike in Air Passenger Duty (APD) in the UK was the wrong response to the aviation industry's trauma.
"They have it all wrong...making travel more expensive will not stimulate the economy," said Mr Bisignani.
The aviation industry has seen some improvement, however, with international scheduled passenger demand now 5% better than its lowest point in March this year.
But Mr Bisignani warned "it is far too early to call this a recovery".
Demand is still 6% below the peak recorded in early 2008.
European carriers continued to see a drop, however, with demand falling from -1.6% in August to -4.2% in September.
North American carriers recorded a flattening out of passenger demand. Figures show a 2.4% drop in September compared to a 2.5% reduction in August.
But some markets reported better results, with Asia Pacific seeing the most significant improvement.
The region's carriers bucked the global trend and recorded a 2.1% rise in passenger demand last month, compared to a drop of 1.6% in August.
IATA put this down to three factors in the region's economy: government stimulus packages are driving increases in production, the region's banks are relatively strong and consumers are not as burdened by debt as those in the US and Europe.
Latin American carriers also fared well, experiencing a jump in demand from -2.3% in August to 3.4% in September. African carriers also saw some improvement in passenger demand, from -4.9% in August to -4.2% in September.