The airline industry has long been one of the toughest businesses to manage, according to billionaire investor Warren Buffett. But investors in airline exchange traded funds (ETFs) may find solace in some positive economic news.

Hugo Martin of Los Angeles Times reports that “air traffic among the world’s major airlines increased by 9.5% in February over the same period in 2009.” Additionally, cargo traffic jumped 26.5% in the same period.

U.S. passenger traffic actually decreased 2.9% among U.S. airlines. But a 5% hike in airfares led to overall growth in total revenue, marking the second straight month of revenue growth for U.S. airlines. [Airline ETF Looks Ready to Take Flight.]

Although the data points to signs of a recovery, keep in mind that these numbers are relative to February 2009, when the airline industry was at its lowest in years. There are a variety of other factors that will impact the profitability of this sector. [The Key to Success May Be Fuel.]

But it does seem that consumers are more willing to spend, even if it’s not at pre-recession levels, which could provide a boost to both passenger and cargo demand. [Consumer Wallets Loosen.]