Strong demand for global air travel continued in September, pointing to further growth by the end of the year, according to Iata.

International passenger demand was up 5.7% compared to the same month last year.

The load factor of 80.3% was largely in line with levels achieved in September 2012.

Iata director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “We are seeing a more positive environment for air travel demand, based on rising business confidence, a strong increase in export orders in September, and better performance of key emerging markets like China.

“The strong growth of recent months, coupled with the continuing improvements in air travel demand in September, suggests that there could be a further acceleration in air travel growth before the end of the year.”

He added: “As the global economy continues to recover, aviation is doing its part by supplying the connectivity that drives global trade and commerce.

“Aviation can do even more if governments see it as an enabler of growth and development, rather than as a source of tax revenues.

“The good news is that the message is getting through in some places, as shown by the announcement by the Irish government that it will abolish its air travel tax on April 1 next year. Since the tax was introduced in January 2009, Irish passenger numbers have dropped 30%. The government’s decision is excellent news for air travelers and for Ireland’s travel and tourism industry,” said Tyler.

But he added: “Unfortunately, we also had disappointing news this month, as the European Commission proposed applying the Emissions Trading Scheme to all flights into and out of European airspace for the period those flights spend in EU airspace.

“The proposal, if agreed by the EU Parliament and the EU Council, risks nullifying all the hard work states achieved at the recent 38th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and could put aviation back in the middle of a potential trade war as non-EU states reject the attempt once again to impose the ETS unilaterally,” Tyler added.