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Provisional figures for June indicate European passenger
traffic is back to where it was before the recession, the Association of
European Airlines said late last week. Revenue passenger kilometers were up 8 percent
from the same month in 2009, driven predominantly by a surge in bookings to the
Far East. "Should it be confirmed by the final monthly data, this would be
the first sign that the sector has recovered to pre-recession levels," AEA said.
Full figures for May showed a more modest increase of 4.3 percent
over 2009, although airlines were severely affected by the cancellation of
10,000 flights in the latter stages of the volcanic ash crisis. Even so, this
was a significant improvement, with May 2009 having been 8.2 percent lower than
the same month in 2008. Capacity in May 2010 was up only 0.2 percent, leading to
an improvement in load factor from 73.2 percent to 76.2 percent.
Long-haul operations performed particularly well, with
average load factors at 80.3 percent. In addition to the Far East, business to
the Middle East, North Africa and South America showed strong growth.