MidEast airlines post 10.9% passenger growth

Middle East carriers yet again posted the strongest passenger growth figures in April, more than three times the global growth, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

The region's airlines saw year-on-year demand expand by 10.9 percent - by far the strongest among all the regions, the aviation authority said in a statement.

Capacity rose 12.9 percent, however, pushing down load factor 1.4 percent to 76.8 percent.

"Demand for air travel has benefitted from continued expansion in trade volumes in the Middle East and Africa since late 2011, with regional airlines embarking on network and capacity expansion to take advantage of that growth," IATA said.

Globally, IATA announced a 3.2 percent increase in demand over the previous April with emerging markets continuing to lead air travel growth.

It added that the timing of the Easter holiday was largely responsible for the apparent decline from March performance. The seasonally adjusted rate for April showed demand up almost five percent, which is in line with the long term historical trend.

Tony Tyler, IATA director general and CEO, said: “Passenger demand continued to grow in April, extending the positive trend that has been developing since late 2012.

"The increase, however, is concentrated in emerging markets. Airlines in Europe and North America reported a modest expansion compared to the strong growth seen in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. While economic developments in Europe and the US certainly bear watching, most indicators continue to signal further expansion in air travel."

Capacity rose 4.4 percent globally on the previous April which was slightly ahead of demand. This pushed the industry load factor downwards by 0.9 percent to 78.1 percent.

Tyler added: “In just a few days, the global air transport industry will gather in Cape Town, South Africa, for IATA’s 69th Annual General Meeting, 2-4 June. High on the agenda will be addressing aviation’s environmental commitment to achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020, as well as safety, distribution and financial sustainability.

"One of our key messages to governments will be that aviation should be treated like any other business. We don’t want a handout, but we also don’t want to be singled out for special fees and taxes, and commercial regulations that chill market creativity and initiative,” he said.

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