Key points from our full report on premium and economy travel in March
Premium and economy air travel were both up significantly in March from a year ago, when unexpected events in Japan and MENA negatively affected air transport markets;
Premium travel markets were up 8.6% in March compared to the same month in 2011, with economy class travel also showing significant growth, increasing 8.9%;
We estimate that premium travel was about 4% points higher this March than it would have been in the absence of the Arab Spring and Japan earthquake – but that still has the market growing at a solid rate of over 4% in March;
In fact, the trend in premium travel has picked up over the past several months, increasing at an annualized rate of over 6% since last December, above the annual growth of 5.5% in 2011;
The performance in economy class travel has also been strong, even after adjusting for the impacts of the events in Japan and MENA a year ago, which we estimate to be worth about 2% points, year-on-year growth in March would have otherwise been close to 7%;
Growth in air travel on routes not impacted by the events in MENA and Japan was promising – both premium and economy travel across the North Atlantic were strong in March compared to a year ago, expanding 4.9% and 6.7% respectively, consistent with positive economic indicators from the US and Germany;
Overall, continued improvements in the global business environment are supporting air transport, and particularly premium travel markets – business confidence has shown modest expansion for the fifth consecutive month, and world trade, which softened in February compared to January, is still up almost 2% on a year ago.