IATA said the world’s airlines in February showed an 8.6% improvement in passenger demand and a 5.2% rise in cargo demand compared to the year-ago month.

However, IATA pointed out that several factors inflated the results and distorted comparisons with the year-ago period, including weaker traffic during the Arab Spring a year ago and the Carnival in Brazil, which occurred in February, a month earlier than in 2011.

According to IATA, international air travel was up 9.3% above February 2011 levels. Capacity expanded by 7.3% and load factors stood at 74.4%. IATA noted that, except for Asia/Pacific, all regions saw demand expand ahead of capacity when compared to the year-ago period.

Overall domestic demand expanded by 7.6%, only slightly ahead of the 7.5% increase in capacity. Average load factor was 76.7%, which was higher than the 74.4% achieved on international routes, according to IATA.

IATA said that airfreight volumes increased in February from a year ago by 5.2%, largely the result of cargo shipments that were postponed in January due to the Chinese New Year holiday and the comparison to the previous year, which was impacted by weak demand associated with the Arab Spring. Airfreight volumes showed a decline on January’s performance of 1.2%.

IATA DG and CEO Tony Tyler called the outlook fragile and said that improvements in business confidence slowed in February, limiting “the potential for business class travel growth” and implying “that an uptick for cargo is not imminent,” Tyler said. “Weak economic conditions and rising fuel costs are a double-whammy that an industry anticipating a 0.5% margin can ill-afford.”