Air travellers cut down on premium travel

Premium travel was 4.3 per cent higher than the same month a year earlier, compared to 1.7 per cent in May; but a closer look at the data shows that this improvement was small - the level of premium passenger numbers in June was no higher than the level reached in March.

The fall of world trade in recent months and the decline in business confidence are the likely reasons for reduced business travel, even as total international travel continues to increase, with the number of passengers 6.2 per cent higher in June than a year ago.

However, this overall growth was supported by economy seat sales, which were 6.4 per cent higher in June than a year ago, rather than premium travel demand.

Some of the weakness in premium markets could be due to a shift to cheaper economy seats by business travelers, with the seat class mix deteriorating further in June.

But the primary source of the slowing growth trend is weakness in European markets – premium travel within Europe and across the North Atlantic declined again in June.

"Air travel growth in regions not connected to Europe – Middle East, Far East, North and South America - was solid overall," IATA said in a statement on its assessment of premium and economy travel in June

"Indicators of premium travel demand, world trade and business confidence, point to further weakness in coming months."