Iata: airline traffic has bottomed

<div>DEMAND for air travel seemed to hit a floor last month, industry body the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said yesterday, while still reporting a decline in air traffic from the previous year.<br /><br />Passenger demand slumped 9.3 per cent year-on-year in May, while freight demand dropped 17.4 per cent, a relative improvement compared to the 21.7 per cent drop in April.<br /><br />&ldquo;Since December 2008, cargo demand has been moving sideways in the 20 per cent range,&rdquo; Iata said. &ldquo;This is one of the first physical signs of the economic recovery being anticipated in equity markets,&rdquo; it added.<br /><br />But the body was reluctant to offer too much cheer, saying that, while the impact of the recession appeared to be stabilising, &ldquo;strong headwinds&rdquo; from debt, added to low asset prices would weaken and delay any significant recovery.<br /><br />Iata said that swine flu had a one per cent impact on passenger traffic, but that Mexico&rsquo;s flights had taken the brunt of the impact, with traffic in the region falling 40 per cent year on year in May.<br /><br />Iata said: &ldquo;this crisis is the worst we&rsquo;ve ever seen&rdquo;.<br /><br />&ldquo;We have lost several years of growth and yields are under severe pressure,&rdquo; Giovanni Bisignani, IATA&rsquo;s director-general said. &ldquo;Airlines are in survival mode,&rdquo; he added.</div>