The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced a 9.6 per cent rise in global passenger traffic for January, compared to the same period last year.
IATA made the announcement in a statement by its Director-General, Mr Alexandre de Juniac, on Tuesday.
The Geneva-based global aviation body said this was the strongest increase in more than five years.
It said the results were positively affected by traffic associated with the Lunar New Year celebrations, which occurred in January this year, compared to February, 2016.
It said IATA estimated that the holiday-related travel contributed up to one-half a percentage point in extra demand growth.
According to the statement, January capacity rise by 8.0 per cent and load factor climbed 1.2 percentage points to 80.2 per cent.
“2017 is off to a very strong start, with demand at levels not seen since 2011.
“This is supported by the upturn in the global economic cycle and a return to a more normal environment after the terrorism and political ‘shock’ events seen in early 2016,” it said.
IATA said all regions recorded year-over-year increases in demand, led by the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
It said African airlines saw January traffic rise 5.6 per cent, compared to January 2016.
According to IATA, this reflects a recovery on the key routes to and from Europe, despite continuing weakness in South Africa and Nigeria.
It said that the capacity went up 4.5 per cent while load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to 69.9 per cent.
“Aviation is the business of freedom. Air travel liberates people to lead better lives and creates greater economic opportunity for all by bringing people closer to trade and markets.
“Governments have a responsibility to secure their borders. They must also preserve the enormous economic and social benefits provided by borders that are open to trade and travel,” IATA said.