International air travel continues to be extremely weak. In particular, business class traffic appears to be collapsing:
"Passengers travelling on premium tickets in May were down 23.6 per cent, after a 22 per cent decline in April and a 19.2 per cent fall in the first quarter. This means that premium travel numbers have been in decline now for 12 consecutive months. Economy travel numbers were also down in May - by 7.6 per cent. And total passenger numbers in international markets was down 9.2 per cent, after a 2 per cent fall in April and an 8.2 per cent fall in Q1. Premium passengers account for almost 30 per cent of airline revenue but only about 10 per cent of numbers, so total travel is shaped mainly by movements in economy ticket numbers ... In the Far East, premium travel was down 31.6 per cent in May; across the Pacific, it was down 30.7 per cent; and from Europe to the Far East, down 26.3 per cent - all following smaller declines in Q1. Intra-Asia economy class travel fell 15.9 per cent in May, after a 10.4 per cent decline in the January-March quarter. Fear of H1N1 flu may account for a large part of the May deterioration, with the region sensitive to such issues following Sars in 2003, Iata said. The impact of H1N1 on air travel was shown in the 62.4 per cent fall in total passenger numbers within central America during May."
(Source: Singapore Business Times, July 17; no link, because links to their articles tend to break down within a few hours)
Note that this is about international air travel only, i.e. domestic trips are not included in the data. In particular, domestic plane traffic in China appears to be growing at a 10-15 % pace based on official data.
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