Air passenger demand growth in the Middle East fell to its slowest pace in almost a decade in January, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Carriers in the region posted the weakest growth in the world in January, with demand up just 0.5 percent compared to January 2017, the slowest pace since September 2008.
IATA said the market to/from North America has been especially hard hit owing to factors including the temporary ban on large portable electronic devices as well as the proposed travel bans to the US from some countries in the region.
Capacity climbed 4.6 percent and load factor fell 3.1 percent to 76.8 percent.
Globally, IATA said passenger traffic rose by 4.6 percentcompared to January 2017. This was the slowest year-over-year increase in nearly four years, but results were affected by temporary factors including the later timing of the Lunar New Year in 2018 as well as less favourable comparisons with the strong upward trend in traffic seen in late 2016-early 2017.
January capacity rose 5.3 percent and load factor slipped half a percent to 79.6 percent.
"Despite the slower start, economic momentum is supporting rising passenger demand in 2018. That said, concerns over a possible trade war involving the US could have a serious dampening effect on global market confidence, spilling over into demand for air travel," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
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