Europe’s regional aviation sector is slowly returning to growth, according to the European Regions Airline Association (ERA). The ERA says analysis of data for 4Q 2013 showed positive changes for the sector in terms of passenger numbers, aircraft movements and numbers of routes. Although overall numbers of passengers fell by 3.9 per cent compared to 2012, a return to month-on-month passenger growth in September of last year bucked a trend of 18 months of negative growth. Aircraft movements fell by 2.5 per cent across 2013, and in keeping with improved passenger growth performance, 2H 2013 saw a return to positive growth. The ERA says in extremely testing economic conditions, operational efficiency for Europe’s regional operators improved in 2013 with the average load factor rising to 71.2 per cent, compared to 69.4 per cent in 2012.