The growth in demand for air travel is slowing down, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
Figures for March, adjusted because of the Easter break, show a 4% increase in demand
compared with the same month in 2007.
IATA said the adjusted load figure of 76.1% was 1.7% lower than in March last year.
The association said the drop indicated the slowing of demand occurred faster than airlines could cut capacity.
Demand in Europe was 3.7% higher than last year while in North America it rose 3.5% and 2.1% in Asia Pacific.
The biggest growth was in Latin America (13.5%) and the Middle East (17.3%). It dropped 10.8% in Africa.
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and ceo, said: "In the face of such dramatic shifts in the global economy, consolidation is critical.
"The proposed consolidation in the U.S. is good news. But it makes no sense that consolidation is limited to domestic partners. This is a global industry that needs to be run like a global business.
"The US-EU Open Sky Agreement second stage talks that open in May must deliver a modern approach to ownership rules."
Tzell sets up in UK
The Tzell Travel Group, one of the largest travel management companies in the US, has opened its first overseas office in the UK.
The office in London will be managed by Barry Whittaker who has 35 years' experience in the British travel industry.
Tzell has offices across 15 states in America, its headquarters with 300 staff in New York and an annual turnover of $700m.
Barry Liben, its founder and ceo, said the opening of a London office had been on the agenda for sometime.
He added: “Our London office will greatly enhance our service both to our existing clients and to our new client base.
"So many of our specialist services will now be available from our London Office enabling us to support our clients with a seamless service on either side of the Atlantic."
Mr Liben said the new office was just the "first move in our international development programme."