These are the key points from full report that was released this week and which looks at air transport markets in February.
Passenger and freight volumes in February were considerably higher than a year ago, but this strength was exaggerated by several factors;
Air travel markets were up 8.6% in February compared to the same month a year ago, and air freight markets rebounded strongly from a weak January to expand by 5.2%;
However, there were distortions to the February results for several reasons - weaker air traffic during Arab Spring a year ago, postponed shipments of cargo in January from the Chinese New Year holiday, and Carnival in Brazil occurring a month early in 2011;
Regions most impacted by these events show significantly exaggerated year-on-year growth rates in February - passenger travel increased by more than 20% in Africa and the Middle East and by 16% in Latin America, while freight markets in Asia/Pacific grew 9%;
After adjusting for the distortions, passenger traffic has been increasing at an annualised rate close to the 20-year trend, 6%, since the Arab Spring;
By contrast, freight traffic continued to fall beyond the Arab Spring at an annualised rate of 5% through to September 2011;
But has subsequently stabilised and has moved around a broadly flat trend through to February 2012;
Capacity has expanded at a slightly lower rate than the growth in demand, allowing a further rise in passenger load factors in February;
Together with stabilisation in freight load factors, this will help to contain the damage to airline profitability from high fuel costs;
The outlook for markets still remains fragile, however, with improvements in business confidence slowing in February, containing the upside for business travel, and higher fuel costs threatening price sensitive markets.
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