Europe's airlines report 7.1% passenger growth in 2011

European airlines carried 24 million more passengers in 2011 or a 7.1 percent increase but the trend is unlikely to last, the Association of European Airlines said Thursday.
Preliminary figures released by the Association of European Airline (AEA), which represents 35 carriers collectively operating more than 11,000 flights per day, said network airlines in all carried 363 million passengers.
“There is much to encourage us in the 2011 figures. In times of austerity and financial turmoil, European citizens continue to vote for air travel,” said AEA Secretary General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus.
“Unfortunately we cannot, and do not, expect this buoyancy to last. Air freight — a key barometer for the industry — has been slowing since May and we began to see passenger traffic cool down in the final quarter of 2011.”