By Daniel Hunter

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for March showing strong demand growth led by emerging markets with all regions showing gains. Total traffic rose 5.9% compared to March 2012.

Part of the rise may be attributable to traffic related to the Easter holiday, which occurred in March this year versus April 2012. But the seasonally adjusted trend continues to show strong growth, with demand expanding at an 8% annualized rate in the six months since October 2012. Capacity rose 3.5% compared to the year-ago period, pushing up load factor 1.8 percentage points to 80.3%.

“Strong demand for air travel is consistent with improving business conditions. Performance, however, has been uneven," said Tony Tyler, IATA Director General and CEO.

"Mature markets are seeing relatively little growth while emerging markets continue to show a robust expansion. Although oil prices have softened in recent weeks, they remain high against historical averages. In view of this, airlines are responding with a very cautious approach to capacity management."

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