Global passenger traffic rose 6.8 percent in May from a year earlier, according to the International Air Transport Association.
International passenger load factors — how full planes are — rose 0.8 percentage points to 75.8 percent.
IATA chief executive Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement that such improvements will “help to alleviate some of the pressure on profits from continued high fuel prices.” But, because “there are risks associated with political unrest in the Middle East and the European currency,” he still expects the global airline industry to make $4 billion this year.
Latin American carriers saw the fastest international growth (+21 percent) and the fastest capacity expansion (+15 percent). International traffic at North American carriers rose 4.5 percent and capacity was up 5.5 percent, but airlines cut capacity in April and May.
International traffic elsewhere: up nearly 11 percent for European carriers; up nearly 8 percent for Middle East carriers; up nearly 5 percent for Asia-Pacific carriers; and up 1 percent for African airlines.