Middle East airlines led the world for growth in demand in November, according to new data published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The region's carriers recorded year-on-year growth of 9.8 percent in November, the second consecutive month that the Middle East posted the strongest performance.
Capacity increases outstripped the growth in demand with Middle Eastern carriers growing their capacity by 10.4 percent, IATA added.
Middle Eastern airlines have seen a gain in market share on long-haul markets through price competitive products, the aviation body said in a statement.
Globally, passenger traffic was 4.3 percent above November 2010 levels but was 0.5 percent down on the previous month.
Freight markets were 3.1 percent below November 2010 levels despite a 1.1 percent increase on October 2011 performance.
The Middle East also delivered the strongest cargo performance with 4.6 percent growth.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Weak global economic performance is being reflected in air transport markets. Freight markets have contracted some 4 percent compared to January.
"Although passenger markets have had some growth relative to the beginning of the year – about 2 percent – the trend has been both soft and volatile. Continuing economic uncertainty will likely mean market shortcomings deepening as we enter 2012."
Globally, passenger load factors have fallen sharply to 76.3 percent from 78.5 percent in October, he said.
IATA is estimating the airline industry will make a collective profit of $6.9bn in 2011 for a net margin of 1.2 percent.
IATA forecasts that this will fall to $3.5bn in 2012. But the association has warned that the downside risk of the Euro-zone crisis failing to be resolved could lead to losses in excess of $8bn.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.