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The Globe and Mail

Global airline traffic slows in August: IATA

A West Jet Boeing 737-700 aircraft departs Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia Feb. 9, 2011.

Andy Clark/Reuters/Andy Clark/Reuters

International airline traffic slowed in August compared to July, with the total passenger market down 1.6 per cent and cargo down by 1.3 per cent, industry figures released on Monday showed, reflecting a sharp weakening in the global economy.

The International Air Transport Association said international markets fell by 1.8 per cent, while domestic markets slipped 1 per cent.

Although passenger traffic – measured by the distance of flights and the number of passengers – was up 4.5 per cent from August, 2010, the growth rate was slower than the 6.1 per cent in 2011 so far.

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"The industry has shifted gears downward. The pace of growth in passenger markets has dipped and the freight business is now shrinking at a faster pace. With business and consumer confidence continuing to slump globally there is not a lot of optimism for improved conditions any time soon," said IATA director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said in a statement.

Freight traffic shrank at 3.8 per cent in August from a year previously and was up a mere 0.2 per cent in the year-to-date.

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