Global air passenger traffic climbs 8% in January: IATA

(Pablo Scapinachis/

(Pablo Scapinachis/


, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

Global air passenger traffic rose by 8% in January compared to the same month in 2013, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Wednesday.

The year "is off to a strong start, with travel demand accelerating over the healthy results achieved in 2013," IATA chief Tony Tyler said in a statement.

The soaring numbers came amid "stronger growth in advanced economies and emerging market regions," he said.

January outperformed the previous month, when air passenger traffic rose 6.8% year-on-year and was well above the full year growth last year of 5.2%.

International air traffic swelled 7.8% in January while domestic routes grew 8.2%, IATA said.

Passenger numbers were up across all regions, soaring 18.1 percent in the Middle East.

Airlines in that region are benefitting from a number of strong economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, especially in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, IATA said.

Air passenger numbers meanwhile jumped 8% in the Asia-Pacific region and 6.4 percent in Europe.

North American carriers meanwhile only posted 3.5% growth, while passenger numbers were up 4.4% in Latin America and 2.7% in Africa.

When it comes to domestic travel, China reported the greatest growth, with passenger numbers up a fifth in January, with an already solid expansion boosted further by the timing of the Lunar New Year, IATA said.