International air traffic rises in mixed recovery

GENEVA Fri Nov 2, 2012 6:38am EDT

An Air China plane passes a Singapore Airlines plane on the runway at Beijing airport in this picture taken December 20, 2009. REUTERS/David Gray

An Air China plane passes a Singapore Airlines plane on the runway at Beijing airport in this picture taken December 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

GENEVA (Reuters) - International air passenger traffic rose in September in a mixed recovery led by carriers in China, Latin America and the Middle East, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Friday.

Traffic rose 4.9 percent compared with a year ago with the industry experiencing a two-speed recovery. European airlines were stuck with "profitless growth" and North American ones operating in a "slow to no-growth environment", the Geneva-based body said.

By contrast, strength in China, Latin America and the Middle East meant passenger traffic in those regions has grown every month this year, although the rate has slowed from an average of 8.1 percent in the first quarter.

International air freight traffic was up 0.5 percent on September 2011, IATA said.

Overall this year airlines are on track for a global net profit margin of just 0.6 percent, according to its Chief Executive Tony Tyler.

IATA represents 240 airlines that together account for over 80 percent of global air traffic. (Reporting by Emma Farge and Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by John Stonestreet)