MidEast airlines lead world on passenger growth in January

Latest IATA figures show region's carriers saw demand growth of 14.4% for the month

Middle East carriers led the world after posting the biggest growth in passenger demand in January, according to new figures.

The region's airlines reported year-over-year demand growth of 14.4 percent, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

It added that capacity climbed 11.4 percent and load factor rose against the year-ago period for a third consecutive month, up 2.1 percent to 79.8 percent.

Globally, demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 9.6 percent compared to January 2016 - the strongest increase in more than five years.

Results were positively affected by traffic associated with the Lunar New Year celebrations, which occurred in January this year, compared to February in 2016.

IATA said it estimates the holiday-related travel contributed up to one-half a percentage point in extra demand growth.

January capacity rose 8 percent, and load factor climbed 1.2 percent to 80.2 percent.

"2017 is off to a very strong start, with demand at levels not seen since 2011. This is supported by the upturn in the global economic cycle and a return to a more normal environment after the terrorism and political ‘shock’ events seen in early 2016," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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