Hyderabad: India led global markets with a domestic air traffic growth of about 20.3% in June, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.

“India led all markets with a 20.3% rise in domestic traffic in June. However, the very strong upward trend in traffic has slowed since the country’s unexpected ‘demonetization’ in November 2016. India’s streak of year-on-year double-digit traffic growth may have ended with June," IATA said in a statement.

The global passenger traffic data for June showed that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) rose by 7.8% from a year earlier. This was in line with the 7.7% growth recorded in May. All regions reported growth. June capacity (available seat kilometres, or ASKs) increased by 6.5%, and the load factor rose 1 percentage point to 81.9%, it added.

For the first six months of 2017, the industry experienced a 12-year high in traffic growth (7.9%) and a record first half load factor of 80.7%.

“A brighter economic picture and lower airfares are keeping demand for travel strong. But as costs rise, this stimulus of lower fares is likely to fade. And uncertainties such as Brexit need to be watched carefully. Nonetheless, we still expect 2017 to see above-trend growth," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and chief executive.

IATA said demand for domestic travel climbed 8.2% in June compared to June 2016 and a marginal increase from the 7.9% growth seen in May.

“June capacity increased 7.0%, and load factor rose 0.9 percentage point to 84.3%. Led by China and India, all markets reported demand increases, but with wide variation," it said. The growth globally was a good sign, it added.

“This is all good news. The demand for travel is strong and that, in turn, will make a positive contribution to the global economy," said de Juniac.

“This growth will also further expose infrastructure deficiencies. In every part of the world, airport and air navigation infrastructure is struggling to cope with demand. There are plenty of examples linking connectivity and economic prosperity. But few governments have been able to deliver on the imperatives of sufficient capacity, quality aligned with user needs and affordability. This year’s strong growth is a reminder that there is no time to lose," he added.