The US-China trade dispute and economic uncertainty are combining to cast a shadow on airline traffic growth as the industry enters the summer peak holiday period.

The warning from Iata came as the aviation trade body reported “solid passenger demand” from June with an improved global load factor.

Demand rose by 5% year-on-year and was an improvement on the 4.7% growth recorded in May.

The industry-wide load factor rose by 1.4 percentage points to a June record of 84.4% despite a 3.3% increase in capacity.

Iata director general and CEO lexandre de Juniac said: “June continued the trend of solid passenger demand growth while the record load factor shows that airlines are maximizing efficiency.

“Amid continuing trade tensions between the US and China, and rising economic uncertainty in other regions, growth was not as strong as a year ago, however.

“The peak summer travel season in the northern hemisphere is upon us. Crowded airports are a reminder of the vital role aviation plays in connecting people and commerce.

“For those travelling on journeys of discovery or reuniting with loved ones, aviation is the business of freedom.

“But aviation relies on borders that are open to trade and people to deliver its benefits.

“Ongoing trade disputes are contributing to declining global trade and slowing traffic growth. These developments are not helpful to the global economic outlook. Nobody wins a trade war.”