Passenger rise is first class for IAG

International Airlines Group, formed by the merger of BA and Iberia, posted a rise in passenger traffic for May thanks to continued growth in first class and business class travel.

Traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, rose 14.1 per cent versus May 2010, while passenger load factor – a measure of how well it fills its planes – was up 4.7 percentage points at 78.1 per cent.

IAG said part of the rise in May traffic was due to favourable comparisons from a year earlier, when strike disruption hit passenger numbers, but added that the underlying revenue trend was in line with last month.

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Europe’s second biggest air- line group by value behind Lufthansa said its first and business class travel – the most profitable part of its passenger business – increased by 30.7 per cent, while non-premium traffic was up 11.4 per cent.

However, on Thursday the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said maintaining high load factors to support profitable growth in the airline industry will be difficult despite a significant improvement in April’s traffic data.

n A subsidiary of Thomson Holiday owner TUI Travel has acquired £1.2m of assets from the leading supplier of port services to cruise ships on the US and Canadian west coast.

TUI division Intercruises has invested in TMS Gateway and following the investment will provide services at all major ports in North America, including the west coast destinations of San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver.