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Premium Traffic Monitor - March 2011

posted May 16, 2011, 4:15 AM by Rowan Hewitt

Released 16 May 2011

Key points from our full report on
premium and economy travel in March:



  • Premium air travel was down significantly in March, due to the impact of events in Japan and MENA;
  • Numbers travelling business or first class were 2.9% higher than a year ago in March, compared to 7.8 % in February;
  • Economy travel slowed to 1.1% in March, down from 3.4 % in February;
  • The decline in economy travel since November is more of a concern that the recent fall in premium, revealing the adverse impact of higher fuel costs;
  • Business travel still looks strong on many markets and all of the decline in March can be account for by the events in Japan and MENA;
  • Excluding the losses due to these unexpected demand shocks, premium travel would have been growing by 5% or more;
  • Other markets were strong, such as within South America, North-South America and even mature markets such as the N Atlantic strengthened;
  • Yields rose in March offsetting the impact of lower volumes, leading to premium revenue growth of 12%;
  • Business travel drivers such as world trade and business confidence remain consistent with 5-6% premium travel growth;
  • Next month year-on-year growth rates will be distorted by the comparison with last April when traffic collapsed during the volcanic ash cloud episode;
  • The situation in Japan could keep Q2 travel growth rates down but a recovery to 5-6% growth is expected in the second half of this year.

- IATA Economics -