Middle East carriers experienced a 4.4 per cent rise in demand in October compared to last year, which is the slowest among the regions for the seventh time in 12 months, as global passenger traffic rose 6.3 per cent.
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said October traffic in the region, however, marked an increase over the 3.3 per cent rise in September.
The Iata, which represents some 290 airlines comprising 82 per cent of global air traffic, said while capacity increased 6.4 per cent in the Middle East, load factor slid 1.3 percentage points to 69.8 per cent, lowest among regions.
“Carriers have been buffeted by policy measures and geopolitical tensions in recent years, including the ban on portable electronic devices and travel restrictions. However, while volatile, passenger volumes are trending up solidly in seasonally-adjusted terms,” the Iata said.
Globally, while demand measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs, rose 6.3 per cent – marking a rebound from 5.5 per cent growth recorded in September – capacity grew 6.3 per cent and load factor was flat at 81.1 per cent, matching last year’s record for the month.
“October’s healthy performance is reassuring after the slower demand growth in September – some of which was attributable to weather-related disruptions. However, the bigger picture is that traffic growth has moderated compared to earlier in the year, reflecting a more mixed economic backdrop and reduced demand stimulation from lower fares,” Iata director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.
European carriers’ October demand climbed 7.5 per cent over October 2017, which was the strongest growth among regions and well up on the 5.3 per cent increase for September.
Capacity rose 7 per cent and load factor edged up 0.4 percentage point to 85.2 per cent, highest among regions. Given mixed signals on the economic situation for the region, it’s unclear if the rebound is sustainable.
Domestic demand worldwide climbed 6.4 per cent in October compared to October 2017, unchanged from September, while capacity rose 6.7 per cent. Load factor slipped 0.2 percentage point to 83.3 per cent.
China, India and Russia led all markets with double-digit growth rates.
“Demand for air travel is strong as we head into the holiday travel season. Trade wars and uncertainty around the political and economic impact of Brexit remain concerns but the recent easing of fuel prices is a welcome development,” said de Juniac.
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