Global air travel rose by 4.6% in November over the same month in 2011 and exceeded the October result of 2.9%.

Passenger capacity rose 3.2% and load factor improved one percentage point to 77.3% compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest Iata figures.

Director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “Passenger markets have held up better than cargo in the face of adverse economic conditions.

“But the current level of air travel is just 2% higher than at the start of 2012. This is considerably weaker than the long-term average growth rate.”

He added: “The recently-ended holiday period serves as a reminder of the value aviation provides. Travel made possible by aviation brought seasonal goods to markets and re-united friends and families around the globe to celebrate.

“2013 is the 100th year of commercial aviation. Over that century, through an ever-expanding network, air transport has transformed the way we live, work and play, providing jobs for some 57 million people and supporting $2.2 trillion in economic activity by connecting people and goods on 35,000 routes.

“But continued connectivity growth is not guaranteed. The industry’s expected margin in 2013 of 1.3% is very weak. Furthermore current returns on investment are less than half the industry’s cost of capital, which continues to erode shareholder value.”

Tyler called for governments to resolve to bring down the barriers to connectivity growth in 2013.

“This can be done by addressing excessive taxation, high infrastructure costs, onerous regulation and improving the capacity and efficiency of airports and air navigation services,” he said.

“A strong air transport sector is in the self-interest of governments eager to support economic growth and development. Trade is the key to growth. For that connectivity is critical. And it is aviation that makes connectivity happen.”

The figures for European carriers saw demand grow 4% compared to November 2011, while capacity climbed 0.8% and load factor was 77.8%, up 2.3 percentage points. Traffic rose 0.5% compared to October 2012.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw the strongest growth among the major regions of the world, with demand up 6.2% year-on-year, on a capacity increase of 2.5%. However, some of the growth likely reflected depressed results in 2011 owing to flooding in Thailand.