But routes between Europe and Asia grow at a healthy 12.1%
In its latest Premium Traffic Monitor, using data from June 2011, the International Air Transport Association said that the number of passengers travelling on premium seats was up 6.4 percent over June last year. But this compares unfavourably to a 9.5 percent rise in May. Likewise, economy travel was up 4.8 percent over the same period, a lower rate than the 5.5 percent reported in May. IATA concludes that while these segments are still showing trend growth, the pace is slowing.
International trade and business confidence, both key drivers of business travel, are at levels consistent with premium travel growth of 3-4 percent a year. This points to the likelihood of slowing growth for premium travel over the second half of the year, IATA says.
Travel demand growth diverges significantly from market area to market area. The important North Atlantic premium market has grown by more than 11 percent in the first half of 2011 and routes between Europe and Asia at an even faster 12.1 percent. But premium travel between North America and Asia across the Pacific has only grown 3.1 percent, weakened by events in Japan.
[pictured: SAS business class meal]