Worldwide air traffic has bounced back so strongly that passenger numbers in June were 11.9% up on a year ago.

However, Europe lagged behind the rest of the world with year-on-year growth f 7.8%, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA reported global passenger volumes are now 1-2% above the pre-recession peak in air travel in early 2008.

Middle East carriers showed the fastest growth of 18%, while Asia-Pacific traffic rose 15.5% – driven primarily by China. Growth in North America was 10.8%.

The June traffic increase in Europe was down on the rise in May (8.3%) and lowered the overall growth rate since Europe accounts for more than 40% of world air traffic.

IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani said: “The industry continues to recover faster than expected, but with sharp regional differences. The question is how long can the industry maintain the momentum? We expect some slowing over the months ahead.”

The figures record only international scheduled traffic.