Air Pocket

GENEVA, Aug 30, 2006 (AFP) – The world’s top airline association on Wednesday predicted a dip in air travel due to the British terror alert this month, but said the prospects for the sector were nevertheless bright. The incident also prompted tougher restrictions on hand luggage worldwide and boosted security checks on passengers. “While we expect to see another isolated dip in August due to the UK terror alert, overall, improved efficiency and high load factors will help to mitigate the impact of the high oil prices and bodes well for the bottom line,” said IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani.

Worldwide, passenger traffic continued to grow, at a rate of 5.2 percent in July 2006 compared to the same period last year, according to the International Air Transport Association’s latest data.

Freight transport in July grew 3.7 percent.

The airline industry was also buoyed by higher loads per flight, reaching an average of 80.8 percent, a sign of greater efficiency, IATA said in a statement.

“The load factors are amazing. The result is a strong revenue environment that is helping to combat the increasing price of fuel,” said Bisignani. “But recent shocks in the UK and the Middle East remind us that the