By Andy Sambidge
Region's carriers also lead the way with cargo growth with 14.5% increase, says IATA
Middle East airlines saw passenger traffic demand grow by 16 percent in April, more than double the global average, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.
The return to double digit increases came after passenger demand softened in the second half of 2011, IATA said.
Although it was a fall from the 20.9 percent growth recorded in March, the March result was distorted by the impacts of the Arab Spring in 2011, it added.
Demand grew faster than the 12.7 percent capacity expansion in April and load factors remained high at 78.3 percent, IATA said in a statement.
Middle Eastern carriers were also the bright spot in cargo with a 14.5 percent increase in demand although this was against a 15.1 percent increase in capacity.
IATA said total passenger demand globally rose 6.1 percent while freight demand was 4.2 percent down on April 2011.
“It’s a volatile and risky world. Airlines are being cautious managing through the uncertainty. There are signs that cargo has bottomed out. Amid the many distortions that have marked the first four months of the year, it is possible to identify the start of a growth trend in cargo for some parts of the world," said said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
"But economic uncertainty in Europe makes it very difficult to be optimistic in the near to medium-term,” he added.
Tyler said: “The growth in passenger markets is encouraging. But it comes against an environment of continuing high oil prices and growing economic uncertainty. So translating the stronger demand into profits will be difficult.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.