By Andy Sambidge
IATA says region's carriers post strongest growth in Aug; passenger demand up by 16.7%
Airlines from the Middle East posted the strongest growth in both passenger and cargo operations in August, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Saturday.
The region's carriers continued to expand rapidly - particularly on long-haul segments - although the 16.7 percent growth was likely boosted by the impact of Ramadan, IATA said in a statement.
Capacity on Middle East airlines expanded by 13.3 percent in August which took load factors to 78.4 percent.
Middle East carriers also saw an 11.3 percent increase in cargo demand against a 10.4 percent increase in capacity which was the strongest performance globally.
Worldwide, demand for air passenger travel expanded by 5.1 percent in August compared to the same month in 2011.
"This partly reflects a positive distortion owing to the timing of Ramadan. Adjustment for such seasonal fluctuations reveals that passenger demand has been basically flat since June and with only a 1.2 percent expansion since January," IATA said.
August air freight volumes fell 0.8 percent compared to the previous year.
"The minor recovery seen at the start of the year has faded quickly and the stability seen in freight markets during 2012 could be under threat owing to continued economic weakness," IATA said.
“Passenger markets have not grown since June and global air freight volumes are below previous year levels. In the face of these adverse conditions, disciplined capacity management has kept load factors high. There are always opportunities and some parts of the world are growing. But, overall, trading conditions are tough,” added Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
IATA currently forecasts a collective $3bn profit for airlines in 2012 for a 0.5 percent net margin.