Business travel demand is holding up better than price-sensitive leisure travel in a sign of business confidence and a recovery in world trade, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.
Airlines also expect renewed growth in air cargo demand in the second half of this year as movements of capital goods and high-value components pick up, said Brian Pearce, chief economist, IATA.
Air cargo demand soared as the global economy emerged from recession last year, driven by restocking and just-in-time supply chains.
Chinese domestic traffic, which is often regarded as a barometer of the domestic stimulus in the world's second-largest economy, had dipped temporarily as authorities moved to head off inflation but should return to a path of structural growth, said Pearce.
He warned that record deliveries of some 1,300-1,400 jet and turboprop aircraft in 2011 created a "clear risk of overcapacity" in some markets, but noted that the aviation industry outlook in Asia ex-Japan remained positive.
Japan, he said, should show a "pretty full recovery" in aviation traffic by the end of the year as the impact on global supply chains from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami tapers off.
The IATA, which accounts for 93% of global air traffic, is forecasting about 8% annual growth in revenues this year to about $600 billion. Air cargo revenue is seen increasing about 9% to $72 billion.