Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Business and First Class Seat Sales Down Dramatically

The number of passengers traveling on premium airline tickets dropped 8 percent in September, reflecting the severity of the global financial crisis and a slump in the confidence of manufacturers in the U.S., Japan and Europe, an industry trade group said Wednesday.

The International Air Transport Association, which culled data about passenger traffic in first and business class on routes around the world, said business confidence fell sharply in October, and with the economic downturn worsening there likely will be a further decline in premium travel.

The September decline followed a 1.5 percent drop in August and was the third consecutive month of shrinking premium traffic, after growth of 1.5 percent during the first half of the year, according to IATA.

The slump is a bad sign because business travel helps drive airline profitability.

The number of passengers traveling on economy tickets fell 4 percent in September, IATA said, and total passenger numbers fell 4.4 percent in the month.

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