International traffic grew in January, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Passenger traffic showed a 5.9% gain over the same month in 2003 and freight traffic was up 7.2%. "These results confirm the healthy recovery trend of the last quarter of 2003," said IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani. "It's a good start towards achieving the 7% annual growth in global passenger traffic and 4.4% in cargo that we have forecast for 2004," he continued.
The IATA report further stated that the freight increase in January was particularly significant since the January 2003 figures showed the most significant growth of the year. The Middle East saw the largest percentage growth in January international freight volumes, up 31.8%. Prior-year results were depressed by the anticipated action in Iraq.
On a percentage basis, Africa saw the next highest growth rate, increasing international freight volumes 30.9% in January. South America posted a 22.6% gain, Europe an 8% gain, and the Asia Pacific region was up 1.8%. Only North American international freight volumes dropped, off 4.9%. IATA figures do not cover domestic air freight or passenger moves. www.iata.gov