Airlines in the Middle East registered the best growth worldwide in terms of passenger numbers during January, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) monthly report.
According to IATA, carriers in the region posted a 14.3 percent uptick in demand, which was evenly matched by a 14.4 percent rise in available capacity. Load factors were above the global average, at 78.6 percent.
IATA attributed the increases during January to carriers successfully tapping into demand for air travel from emerging markets through their strong networks and efficient hubs.
Operators in Latin America were the second best performers globally, IATA said, with a hike in demand of 12.2 percent and a rise in capacity of 13.7 percent. The report said reduced unemployment had bolstered demand for international air travel in countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Columbia and Peru.
In Africa demand outstripped supply, with the former up by 9.4 percent and capacity rising by just 5.8 percent. IATA attributed rising demand to strong economic growth in resource rich West African countries.
Growth in demand across Asia-Pacific carriers was distorted by the timing of Chinese New Year, the report said. After adjustment for seasonal factors, demand rose 3 percent.
European airlines were among the weaker performers, showing 2.1 percent growth in demand alongside an expansion in capacity of 0.4 percent.
On a worldwide basis, demand for air travel crept up 2.7 percent, slightly ahead of a 2.2 percent rise in capacity. The average global load factor was at 77.1 percent during January.
“Passenger travel is growing in line with business confidence levels. Recent months have seen some positive economic signs emerge in both the US and China, and the euro zone crisis seems to have stabilised,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
“Of course risks remain; the impact of US budget cuts has yet to play out and fuel prices are high. But even with those headwinds - real and potential -we still see underlying support for continued and potentially even strengthened growth.”