Biggest share of rise in premium travel in Far East
Premium international passenger travel expanded 4.2% in 2013 compared to 2012, the International Air Transport Association reports. This is a slowdown on the 4.8% expansion seen in 2012, but growth picked has up over recent months, with December up 5.5%.
Growth in premium travel was supported by a stronger business environment in the second half of 2013. Key markets like the North Atlantic improved – still growing slowly (2.3%), but up on 2012 (0.6%).
But the biggest share of the rise in total premium travel (21%) was within the Far East. This market expanded 7.2% in 2013, supported by regional trade growth in the second half of the year.
Economy-class travel internationally expanded 3.5% in 2013, significantly down on 2012 (5.9%). The economy market within Far East slowed the most, with growth in 2013 (4.3%) at half the pace of 2012.
Although Asian economies made some gains in 2013, China slowed to rates not seen since 1990.
The outlook for premium travel is broadly positive, but recent improvements in key drivers appear to be pausing, IATA said. Business confidence has flattened and export-order growth has slowed, reflecting weakness in emerging markets.
Nonetheless, the association stressed, the performance of advanced economies should sustain premium travel, at least at current growth rates.
[pictured: Spike Aerospace S-512; image courtesy Spike Aerospace]