IATA: Africa sees growth in Business and First Class Travel

Yet more positive news for the air travel market in Africa. In the year 2011, the growth in first class and business class air travel on intercontinental flights from Africa to Europe, the Far East and the Middle East dipped according to the latest IATA survey.

In Africa, the opposite was true. Business and First Class travel rose within Africa and between Africa and the South West Pacific area.
Business Travel within Africa grew by 2.9%

Decline in Premium Travel in European, M.Eastern and the Far Eastern Routes
Premium travel fell by 7.9 percent between Africa and the Far East, by 5.7 percent between Africa and the Middle East and by 4.8 percent between Africa and Europe. But it rose by 9.6 percent between Africa and the southwest Pacific(Fiji, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Cook Islands) and by 2.9 percent within Africa. 

Worldwide, the report shows that air travel in both premium and economy markets rose in December, with premium travel increasing by 3.7 percent, compared with the same month the previous year, and economy travel by 7.4 percent. 

IATA economists suggested that this was due to an improvement in business confidence, which had “turned up in the past two months, and is pointing to increased business activity. As a result we would expect some increase in business travel lending some support to premium travel in the months ahead.
“However, growth risks from the euro zone debt crisis remain.” 

Despite this, the report continued, “a leading indicator of premium travel growth – the purchasing managers’ index of business confidence – signals an optimistic outlook for premium travel markets in coming months”.
“Changes in business confidence have been a good early indicator of changes in premium travel growth, leading them by up to six months. 

“The index has now clearly turned and broken through the neutral level into expansion territory, indicating likely improvements in premium travel growth in coming months.” 

Commenting on the drop in travel between Africa and the Far East and Middle East, the report pointed out that these routes “previously experienced strong growth from increased investments and trade but now shows weakness”. 

However, it said that travel within Africa “has proved to be very resilient with good economic growth rates in a number of countries on the continent facilitating strong travel activity”.

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