Emerging markets are continuing to lead air travel growth, with all regions reporting year-over-year gains, according to Iata.

Overall passenger traffic was up by 3.2% in April over the same month last year. European carriers recorded 2% growth, down on the March figure of 4.5%, largely attributed to the downward impact of the timing of the early Easter holiday this year.

Iata director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said ahead of the organisation’s AGM in Cape Town: “Passenger demand continued to grow in April, extending the positive trend that has been developing since late 2012.

“The increase, however, is concentrated in emerging markets. Airlines in Europe and North America reported a modest expansion compared to the strong growth seen in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

“While economic developments in Europe and the US certainly bear watching, most indicators continue to signal further expansion in air travel.”

He added: “In just a few days, the global air transport industry will gather in Cape Town for Iata’s 69th AGM [June 2-4]. High on the agenda will be addressing aviation’s environmental commitment to achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020, as well as safety, distribution and financial sustainability.

“One of our key messages to governments will be that aviation should be treated like any other business. We don’t want a handout, but we also don’t want to be singled out for special fees and taxes, and commercial regulations that chill market creativity and initiative.”