Global passenger traffic results for March showed that demand rose 9.5 percent compared to the same month a year earlier, the fastest pace in 12 months, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Thursday.
"Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
He cautioned, however, that rising cost inputs, particularly fuel prices, indicate that in the second quarter any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate.
March international passenger demand rose 10.6 percent compared to March 2017 and all regions showed strong increases.
Asia-Pacific airlines' traffic soared 11.6 percent in March, compared to the same month a year ago.
Middle East carriers' traffic jumped 10.7 percent in March, much improved from the 4.1 percent year-over-year increase recorded in February. This reflects healthy growth in the market between the Middle East and Asia.
European carriers saw March traffic climb 9.8 percent over the same month in 2017, up from 6.9 percent annual growth in February.
"Business confidence in the most-open countries in the region has been hit by trade tensions in recent months, but economic conditions remain broadly supportive," said IATA.
As with the Asia-Pacific region, demand is also being stimulated by increases in the number of nonstop airport-pairs.
North American airlines posted a 9.5 percent traffic rise in March year on year, well above the 5-year average growth rate of 3.6 percent.
"The weakening U.S. dollar is having a positive effect on inbound traffic, while the comparatively robust domestic economic backdrop is supporting outbound demand," said IATA.