Passenger traffic for Middle East carriers continued to slow down in June, with routes to the United States being hit hardest, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Regional airlines posted a 2.5 percent traffic increase in June, which was a slowdown from the already subdued 3.7 percent growth seen in May.
IATA said in a statement that capacity rose 3.1 percent, and load factor slipped by 0.4 percent to 68.9%.
IATA added that while most markets have seen demand slowing, it is most visible on the Middle East-North America market, which has been affected by a combination of factors including the recently-lifted ban on personal electronic devices.
However, passenger traffic between the Middle East and North America was already slowing in early 2017, in line with a moderation in the pace of growth of the largest carriers in the region.
Globally, IATA said passenger demand - measured in total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs - rose by 7.8 percent compared to the year-ago period. All regions reported growth.
For the first six months of 2017, the industry experienced a 12-year high in traffic growth (7.9 percent) and a record first half load factor of 80.7 percent.
"A brighter economic picture and lower airfares are keeping demand for travel strong. But as costs rise, this stimulus of lower fares is likely to fade. And uncertainties such as Brexit need to be watched carefully. Nonetheless, we still expect 2017 to see above-trend growth," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
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