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Middle East tops passenger growth in first half

International air traffic increased 7.4% in June year-on-year

Image Credit: AP
A Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner lands during an aerial display on the third day of the Farnborough International show, in Farnborough, England.
Gulf News

Dubai: The Middle Eastern airlines led the passenger traffic growth in June as well as in the first half of the year, globally, over respective periods last year, even as the industry continued to experience slowing of growth in the demand for air transport owing to weakness in business and consumer confidence, according to the latest statistics released by IATA (International Air Transport Association).

The demand grew 18.2 per cent in June over the same month last year and 18.1 per cent in the first six months of the year as against the same period a year earlier, as per the data.

“Middle East carriers were the strongest performers with demand growth of 18.2 per cent outstripping a capacity expansion of 13.4 per cent,” IATA said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the region’s carriers also saw load factors at 78.6 per cent in June 2012.

The aviation watchdog further stated that in contrast to the overall market, the growth trend in this region [the Middle East] has been “robust” throughout 2012, gaining a further 1.9 per cent in June compared to May. Passenger growth was also up on a monthly basis from 5.6 per cent in May.

“Middle East carriers recorded a 18 per cent increase in demand against a 14.2 per cent increase in capacity. The airlines have been adding capacity to meet the need for moving goods between the Middle East and Africa and also toward Europe and Asia,” IATA said.

International air passenger traffic, meanwhile, increased 7.4 per cent in June year-on-year, even as persistent economic uncertainty led to slower growth rates than earlier in 2012, IATA said. “The uncertainty that we see in the global economic situation is being reflected in air transport’s performance,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said in a statement.

The Middle East also posted the strongest cargo growth, globally, with the region’s airlines recording an 18 per cent jump in freight traffic in June over same month last year. The January-June 2012 cargo demand was also the highest at 14. 8 per cent against a year earlier period, according to IATA.

“Passenger markets have been growing more slowly since the beginning of the year and freight markets gains have been mostly very weak. The net effect is a demand limbo and consumers and businesses hedge their spending while awaiting clarity on the European economic front,” said Tyler.