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United, Delta See Global Air Travel Uptick

American, Delta and United all benefited from stronger international travel.
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all benefited from increased international travel in the second quarter.

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On Monday, the International Air Transport Association said that the number of international air travelers grew, but the pace of growth slowed from the two preceding quarters.

Premium international travel expanded at an annual rate of 9% in the quarter, while economy travel expanded at a 6% rate, the international aviation trade group said in a monthly report on the number of passengers in each segment.

"The pace of growth is slower than the first quarter and the second half of 2009, when air travel was rebounding from the depth of the Great Recession," IATA said. "But they are still very health rates of expansion at or above the pre-recession trends."

In June, premium travel rose 16.6% while economy travel rose 9.5%, IATA said, noting that June growth was slightly weaker than May growth.

In specific markets, travel in Asia and Latin America continues to be strong, as does transpacific and Europe-Far East travel due to business traffic generated by strong Asian growth, IATA said. However, "transatlantic travel, with the weak European economies at one end, continues to underperform."

Second quarter results from the big three U.S. airlines generally reflected the trends.

In the Pacific, United, the largest U.S. carrier in the region, reported 52.4% growth in its passenger revenue per available seat mile. In the transatlantic, Delta, the largest U.S. carrier in the region, reported 30.1% PRASM growth in the region, reflecting that transatlantic traffic originating in the U.S. remained strong.

In Latin America, American, the largest U.S. carrier in the region, reported 13.8% PRASM growth, a lower number that reflected increased regional competition.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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