Airlines will be cheered amid the gloom to learn that an increase in business passengers is continuing to boost the proportion of premium ticket sales. IATA reported the worldwide results, indicating a fourth consecutive month of improvement since a low last October. Premium travel expanded by 6.3% in February compared to the same month a year ago. Economy-class travel also increased, by 8.9% from a year ago, well above the January result of 6.1%.
However, the year-on-year increases were given a one-off boost of several percentage points – from the Arab Spring a year ago, Chinese New Year in January, the Brazil Carnival and the Leap Year in February. Nevertheless, the seasonally adjusted trend shows premium traffic picking up significantly over the last three months, increasing at an annual rate of 5%, after experiencing no growth between May and September 2011.
[pictured: Cathay Pacific premium economy; courtesy Cathay Pacific]