Thanks to an Icelandic volcano whose name few could pronounce, air travel saw a slump worse than 9/11 two months ago. Flying over Europe came to a standstill, just a few weeks before the continent began to suffer severely from its debt problems.
Europe’s still suffering, but the good news is that air travel is looking up. The International Air Transport Association (Iata), which had presented a bleak outlook as recently as March, noted on Monday that the industry will post profits worth $2.5 billion this year. After losses for two straight years, airlines are smartly turning around.
The same may well go for the world economy. Iata expects higher global demand for this year—more passengers flying, more manufacturers sending freight. The source of this demand seems to follow the trajectory most economists suspect the global recovery will take: Asia will lead the way, and Europe will promise even more pain.