Middle Eastern carriers posted a 5.5 percent increase in passenger traffic during August, well below the five-year average pace of 11.1 percent, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The Middle East to North America market in particular has been hit by a combination of factors, including the now lifted cabin ban on large portable electronic devices, as well as a wider impact from the proposed travel bans to the US, IATA said in a statement.
It added that traffic growth on the segment was already slowing in early-2017, in conjunction with an easing in the pace of growth of nonstop services flown by the largest Middle Eastern airlines including Emirates.
Capacity increased 5.1 percent during August, IAT noted, with load factor rising 0.3 percent to 81.4 percent.
Globally, IATA said that passenger demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) climbed 7.2 percent compared to the year-ago period. August capacity increased by 6.3 percent, and load factor climbed 0.7 percent to 84.5 percent, which was just below the record for the month set in 2015.
"Following the strong summer traffic season in the Northern hemisphere, 2017 is on course to be another year of strong traffic growth. However, some important demand drivers are easing, particularly lower fares. As we head towards the end of the year we still expect growth to continue, but potentially at a slower pace," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
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