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The global economic recovery is well underway, indicated by a first quarter rise in international air travellers of 13.2% while air cargo demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres, rose 33.8% during the same quarter.

The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) says in its news release that in March of this year, passenger and air cargo markets continued to show further gains a result of the region’s dynamic economic recovery.

Asia Pacific based airlines carried 15.6 million international passengers in March 2010, a growth of 14.8% compared to the same month last year.

International passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, rose by 14.2% in March from a year ago. Available seat capacity grew by a relatively modest 2.0%. As a result, the average international passenger load factor reached a new high of 80.1%, 8.6 percentage points above the levels seen one year ago.

Underpinned by a surprisingly robust recovery in international trade, air cargo demand, as measured in freight tonne kilometres, recorded a 33.1% increase in March compared to the slump last year.

Freight capacity grew by a more restrained 12.6%. As a result, the average international air cargo load factor for Asia Pacific carriers jumped 11.3 percentage points to reach 73.1%.

Commenting on the results, Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general said: “These figures provide further confirmation that the global economic recovery is well underway, led by quicker growth in leading Asia Pacific economies, but also accompanied by welcome signs of a pickup in both business and consumer confidence in major developed markets.

“For the first quarter of 2010, we have seen a 13.2% growth in international passenger numbers, buoyed by increasing business and leisure related travel. The international air cargo market has bounced back strongly from last year’s slump in international trade, recording a 33.8% jump in cargo volumes compared to the same period last year. Both passenger and cargo traffic volumes are close to returning to levels last achieved before the recession began to hit hard in mid-2008. Meanwhile, careful management of capacity has helped improve asset.”

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