As the global economic crisis seems to be easing, it appears that most sectors are starting to see signs of relief, even the ever-so-battered airline industry and its exchange traded funds (ETFs). 

According to Sui-Lee Wee and Pete Harrison of Reuters, total airline traffic is still declining, but at a slower rate than it was.  For example, in Europe passenger traffic fell 2.9% and planes were on average 84.8% full, an increase from the same time period a year ago.

Additionally, freight traffic fell 13.4% compared with July 2008, an improvement on the average 22.4% decrease during the preceding six months.

Things are improving for the sector and some analysts even expect airlines to show growth in 2010, but keep in  mind that the industry is influenced by more than just passenger and freight travel numbers. As we saw in 2008, fuel costs are another huge factor and if oil continues to gain in price, it could weigh on the industry.

  • Claymore/NYSE Arca Airline ETF (NYSE: FAA): up 23.3% since its inception

  • iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (NYSE: IYT): up 8.8% year-to-date

For more stories on the airlines, visit our airline category.

Kevin Grewal contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.