Report: U.S. Visits to Europe Increase

Trans-Atlantic has released its latest statistics on travel to Europe, and the results are a decidedly mixed bag.

Overall trans-Atlantic traffic dropped in April by an average 0.7 percent on the leading carriers, a return to the pattern of low growth over the past six months (with the exception of March’s 5.8 percent increase). Reduced capacity continued to be a factor; it was –3.7 percent in April, pushing the average load factor up to 84.1.

Visits by Americans to Europe increased a solid 6.5 percent in March, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, in what the company calls "a more accurate measure of U.S. traffic trends for the first half [of 2012] than February’s +19 [percent]." The later figure was inflated by the extra day in February and by comparison to a very low total in February 2011.

Many eyes are on Greece as the country prepares for its second election in June that might bring an anti-austerity coalition to power. Greece’s bankruptcy and departure from the eurozone suddenly seems possible, and supporters of austerity policies are struggling elsewhere in Europe: Nicolas Sarkozy became the first French president to lose re-election in 30 years; Britain’s coalition government lost 823 seats in local elections; Angela Merkel’s CDU was punished by voters in Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. Results were less clear-cut in Italy’s regional and city elections.