Air Travel Rose to Pre-Recession Levels in May

International air traffic jumped in May, taking the industry to levels not seen since before the global recession.

Passenger travel gained 11.7 percent from a year earlier, while freight demand increased a whopping 34.3 percent, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement.

"Demand rebounded strongly in May following the impact of the European volcanic ash fiasco in April," said Giovanni Bisignani, the CEO of IATA. "Passenger traffic is now 1% above pre-recession levels, while the freight market is 6% bigger."

The growth in traffic is helping the airlines too. The industry is expected to post a $2.5 billion profit this year, compared with a $9.9 billion loss in 2009.

"This is good news, but it is only a 0.5% margin," said Bisignani. "We are still a long way from sustainable profitability."