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Passenger demand for flights around the globe in January rose 7.1% over the same month last year.

The collective airline load factor rose 1.1 percentage points to 78.8%, the highest ever recorded for the first month of the year, despite capacity rising by 5.6%.

The strong start to the year was ahead of the 2015 full-year growth rate of 6.5%, according to latest Iata figures.

International passenger traffic in January rose 7.3% year-on-year with capacity up by 5.9% and the load factor up 1 percentage point to 78.8%. All regions recorded year-over-year increases in demand.

Airline strikes and the shutdown of Russia’s Transaero caused traffic in Europe to fall in the last quarter of 2015 but volumes have picked up somewhat in recent months, Iata reported.

Domestic air travel rose 6.8% in the month as capacity went up by 5.1%. The load factor was 78.9%, up 1.3% percentage points.

Director general and chief executive, Tony Tyler, said: “January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite recent turmoil in equity markets.

“The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets.”

He added: “Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth.”