By Staff writer
Region's carriers report strongest year-on-year growth in the world, according to new IATA figures
Middle East carriers posted the strongest year-on-year traffic growth of any region in January at 11.4 percent, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said capacity rose 13.3 percent and load factor dipped 1.3 percent to 79.7 percent during January, adding that the region’s economies continue to show improvement, suggesting that they are comparatively well-placed to withstand the plunge in oil revenues.
Globally, IATA reported traffic growth (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) of 4.6 percent compared to January 2014. This represents a slower start to the year compared to 2014 full-year growth of 5.9 percent.
However, it added that results were likely affected by the timing of the Lunar New Year in Asia, which occurred one month later this year compared to 2014.
January capacity rose 5.2 percent and load factor slipped 0.5 percent to 77.7 percent. While domestic markets drove growth in the latter part of 2014, international traffic was stronger in January, IATA said.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “January traffic did not maintain the rate of growth attained in 2014; nevertheless, we are seeing healthy albeit slightly slower growth in the demand for air services.
"While January was a relatively positive start for the year, we cannot look ahead without seeing some significant risk factors in the macro-economic and political environment.
“Air travel drives business. The economic impact of travel during the Lunar New Year period is a tremendous example of how powerful a force travel can be,” said Tyler.