Global demand for air travel rose 6.8 per cent in March as lower fares and improving economies continued to support growth through the first quarter, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.
The association said that it will have to wait for the April data to see the impact of restrictions on large electronic devices in the cabin on certain direct flights to the U.S. and Britain.
The restrictions, on flights from predominantly Middle East countries, were brought in by U.S. and British authorities in late March.
However, traffic growth at the Middle East carriers slowed to 4.9 per cent in March, against 9.5 per cent in February as the low oil price took its toll on demand.
“This is related more to developments seen last year, while any impact from the laptop ban will be visible from April results onward,” IATA said in a statement.
Globally, capacity measured in available seat/kilometres rose 6.1 per cent, slower than demand.
That meant load factors, a measure of how full aircraft are, increased 0.5 percentage points to 80.4 per cent, which IATA said was a record for the month of March.