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June Premium Traffic Drops "Only" 21.3 Percent

It is absolutely absurd when people start getting optimistic over a 20+ percent drop in traffic, but that's exactly what we're seeing with the latest IATA premium traffic monitor from June. Premium traffic was down 21.3 percent, and that's good.

How can we say that's a good thing? Well, it was down 23.6 percent in May, so we're trending in the right direction. As far as long haul routes go, the Pacific is still the weakest market out there. North and Mid Pacific traffic was off 27.9 percent and Europe to the Far East was down 23.7 percent.

Meanwhile, on the Atlantic, things are better. North Atlantic premium traffic was down 13.9 percent and South Atlantic saw declines of 10 percent. Short hauls suffered more in general with North America routes down 26.3 percent.

It's strange to look at these numbers, because the swine flu seems to have hit Asia harder than where it actually broke out in Latin America. The Asians must be more sensitive after seeing what happened with SARS earlier this decade, so they react more swiftly.

But once again, we have to remember that this is just traffic. Revenue is a much more depressing story as airlines continue to discount premium seats in order to fill them. The estimate is that for June, premium revenue is off 40 percent. That slightly improved the total second quarter decline to around 41 percent.

While things may be looking up in that they aren't falling further, we aren't seeing a recovery at all.