May 3 (Reuters) - Global air freight demand in March rose 14 percent, the strongest since October 2010, boosted by an uptick in world trade and strong export orders, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.
"Optimism is returning to the industry as the business stabilizes after many years in the doldrums. There is, however, still much lost ground to recover while facing the dual headwinds of rising fuel and labor costs," said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
Air freight demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres, was primarily driven by increased shipment of silicon materials used in high-value consumer electronics devices, such as smartphones.
Available capacity rose 4.2 percent in March, meaning that load factors rose by 4.1 percentage points to 47.4 percent.
Last week, Germany's Lufthansa reported its first operating profit since 2008 due to improved demand at its air freight division. (Reported by Evangelo Sipsas; Editing by Thyagaraju Adinarayan)