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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        5  February 2011

International passenger, freight traffic up

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said passenger air traffic for last year was up 8.2 percent against the previous year while freight grew 20.6 percent.

"The world is moving again. After the biggest demand decline in the history of aviation in 2009, people started to travel and do business again in 2010. Airlines ended the year slightly ahead of early 2008 volumes, but with a pathetic 2.7 percent profit margin. The challenge is to turn the demand for mobility into sustainable profits," IATA director-general and chief executive officer Giovanni Bisignani said in a media statement issued on Wednesday.

While this year would likely be the second consecutive year of profits for the airline industry, IATA said profits would fall by 40 percent to US$9.1billion.

"This is based on an oil price of US$84 per barrel (Brent) as fuel accounts for 27 percent of operating costs and a sustained rise in oil price could spoil the party," said Bisignani. He added that oil prices were now hovering near US$100 per barrel given the uncertainties in the Middle East.

"For every dollar increase in the average price of a barrel of oil over the year, airlines face the difficult task of recovering an additional US$1.6bil in costs," said Bisignani. Demand clearly outstripped capacity increases of 4.4 percent for passenger and 8.9 percent for cargo last year.

IATA added that the average passenger load factor for the year was 78.4 percent, which was up 2.7 percent improvement from 2009 while freight-load factor for the year was up 5.2 percentage points to 53.8 percent.

Asia-Pacific carriers saw passenger demand in 2010 grow 9 percent from the year before while European carriers posted an increase of 5.1 percent year-on-year. North American carriers recorded a full-year growth of 17.8 percent against 2009 and Middle Eastern airlines reported the strongest full-year growth of 17.8 percent.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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