April 6 (Reuters) - Global demand for air travel rose 4.8 percent in February, continuing the strong start from January and driven by lower fares and improving economies, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.
IATA said it estimates fares have fallen by more than 10 percent in real terms over the last year, and added that uncertainty over U.S. travel restrictions was not having a major impact.
"Although we remain concerned over the impact of any travel restrictions or closing of borders, we have not seen the attempted U.S. ban on travel from six countries translate into an identifiable traffic trend", IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement.
Overall, capacity in February increased 2.7 percent, leading to the load factor - a measure of how full planes are - rising 1.6 percentage points to 79.5 percent. IATA said that was the highest ever level recorded for February.
Reporting by Daria Kowalewska; Editing by Victoria Bryan