More business travellers are forgoing premium air travel in favour of cheap economy seats amid continuing fears over the state of the world economy.
Sales of economy class tickets increased at a quicker rate in August than those for first and business class seats, according to figures from Iata reported by the Times.
Premium passengers accounted for 5.7% of total travellers flying worldwide, down from a peak of more than 6.5% before the global recession.
The airline trade body said that the growth in premium travel had been relatively slow "due to weakness in business travel demand", saying that confidence was being "dragged down by emerging market".
Premium travel on routes between Europe and the Far East, Middle East and Africa suffered the most in August.
However, sales of business and first class tickets actually increased quicker on flights within Europe and on more profitable transatlantic routes.
However, the Iata report warned that premium travel had suffered "sluggish growth" across the world.
"Premium passenger numbers have been growing but at a relatively slower pace due to overall weakness in business travel demand drivers," it said…