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Five indicators of the airline industry's future: start with first and business class
According to the International Air Transport Association, an industry trade group, year-over-year growth slowed down in August relative to previous months, though this is due in part to the fact that August 2009 was the first month of the industry's recovery, setting a higher bar for year-over-year growth than in the few months prior.
Nonetheless, airline sector growth is slowing down a bit, and not just because of the higher base in August for relative measurement. The total number of passengers traveling fell a little over 1 percent from July to August this year.
In August, first- and business-class passenger traffic surged 9.1 percent, following a 13.8 percent jump in July. Behind the special curtain that separates the elite from the proletariat, passenger traffic climbed 6.2 percent in August, following 8.8 percent in July.
So, where is the airline industry going this year? Here are five indicators to watch:
2. Premium-class travel has leveled off since the end of Q1, but it's uncertain if this is only a temporary state.
3. Business confidence is still positive, but it is inching downward. Premium markets remain 11 percent below the early 2008 peak, MSNBC reports.
4. Leisure travelers are even trying to help, with total economy travel up 11 percent from the depths it hit in 2009.
5. Month-over-month stagnation now may not say much about the future, according to IATA. Leading indicators point to growth of 5 percent to 6 percent a year.
[photo by Let Ideas Compete via Flickr]