They have also added that air traffic was up by 8.2 per cent in the passenger business category and a 20.6 per cent increase in freight. There was an increased demand that outstripped capacity, of 4.4 per cent for passenger and 8.9 per cent for cargo, IATA said in a statement. Average passenger load factor for last year was 78.4 per cent, which was a 2.7 percentage improvement from 2009, while a 5.2 percentage point improvement to 53.8 per cent was recorded on the freight load factor.
"Compared to the pre-recession levels of early 2008, December air travel volumes were four per cent higher. Air freight was one per cent higher than pre-recession level. However, volumes have fallen five per cent since the peak of the post-recession inventory re-stocking boom in early 2010," IATA said.
IATA Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Giovanni Bisignani said airlines ended the year slightly ahead of early 2008 with only 2.7 per cent profit margin.
"After the biggest demand decline in the history of aviation in 2009, people started to travel and do business again in 2010. The challenge is to turn the demand for mobility into sustainable profit," he said.
It was estimated that the severe weather in Europe and North America in December would shave off one per cent of the total traffic demand for the months.
(With inputs from PTI)