By Courtney Trenwith
The latest international airline passenger data shows Middle East traffic increased 13.4% in February
Traffic on Middle East airlines is growing at more than double the global average, according to the latest industry data.
The number of passengers on Middle East carriers increased 13.4 percent in February, compared to the same month last year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
That was by far the strongest year-on-year traffic growth of any region, with the second largest increase in Europe at 5.8 percent.
The global average was 5.4 percent.
Middle East carriers are benefiting from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, the IATA report says.
“The Gulf nations in particular are enjoying acceleration in non-oil sectors of their economies, further supporting strong demand for air travel,” the report says.
Capacity in the region rose 12.5 percent and the load factor climbed 0.6 percentage points to 78.9 percent.
Globally, passenger traffic growth slowed in February after a super high of 8.2 percent in January.
However, IATA said the cumulative growth so far this year was 6.9 percent, better than 5.2 percent in the first two months of 2013.
February capacity rose 5.2 percent and the load factor climbed 0.2 percentage points to 78.1 percent. All regions except Africa experienced positive traffic growth.
“People are flying. Strong demand is consistent with the pick-up in global economic growth, particularly in advanced economies,” IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said.