By Andy Sambidge
Airlines in region benefit from growth in business related premium travel, says IATA
Passenger demand in the Middle East soared by more than 18 percent in January, far and away the strongest growth for any region in the world, according to new figures.
Latest data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed demand for the region's carriers rose by 18.1 percent.
Capacity climbed 15 percent versus the same month in 2013 and load factor rose 2.2 percent to 81.1 percent, also the highest for any region, IATA said in a statement.
It added: "The Middle East carriers are benefitting from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, supported by the performance of internationally trading industries and key economies such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE."
Globally, IATA announced passenger traffic results for January showed a strong increase in demand. Total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose eight percent compared to January 2013, an improvement over the December 2013 growth of 6.8 percent and the full year 2013 growth of 5.2 percent.
January capacity increased 6.7 percent, pushing load factor up 0.9 percent to 78.1 percent.
According to IATA, January international passenger demand was up 7.8 percent compared to the year-ago period with airlines in all regions recording growth.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "The second century of commercial aviation has begun on a positive note, with air traffic demand rising in line with generally positive economic indicators. While this is in line with an improved overall outlook for 2014, aviation remains highly vulnerable to external shocks. Rising geopolitical tensions around the world have the potential to cast shadows on this optimistic outlook.
“2014 is off to a strong start, with travel demand accelerating over the healthy results achieved in 2013, in line with stronger growth in advanced economies and emerging market regions,” added Tyler.