MidEast leads global October aviation growth

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Middle East airlines continued their dominance in October, posting world-best figures for passenger and cargo growth.

According to latest figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), carriers in the region reported traffic growth at 12.4 percent year-on-year.

However this was nearly matched by a 12.1 percent rise in capacity that held the rise in load factor to just 0.2 percent to 75 percent. Compared to September, traffic rose 1.1 percent.

Middle East airlines also posted a 13.4 percent rise in cargo traffic which came on an 8.6 percent rise in capacity, raising load factor two percent to 46.4 percent.

Globally, passenger demand rose 2.8 percent compared to October 2011, but declined 0.5 percent compared to September.

Capacity increased by 2.3 percent over the year-ago period, and load factor rose 0.4 percent to 78.8 percent, IATA said in a statement.

Global freight demand in October fell 3.5 percent compared to the same month in the previous year and declined 2.2 percent compared to September. The freight load factor weakened to 46.1 percent from 46.7 percent a year ago.

“Slowing world trade and weak business confidence are affecting demand for air travel, while Hurricane Sandy delivered a concentrated punch to US domestic and North Atlantic travel. And its impact was felt globally,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“Airlines are managing the softer passenger demand environment by limiting capacity growth to keep load factors high. But the rapid decline in freight traffic is outrunning the industry’s ability to respond.”

IATA said nearly 17,000 flights were cancelled last month amid the impact of Hurricane Sandy. At the peak of the storm on October 29, 8-9 percent of global capacity was grounded which is equal to 1.6 billion available seat km.

A conservative estimate of lost revenues as a result of the hurricane is $500m, the authority added.

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