By Staff writer
New IATA data shows performance of region's carriers is topped by rivals in Asia Pacific for first time in months
Airlines in the Middle East posted 8.7 percent growth in passenger traffic demand in February but was outperformed by rivals in Asia Pacific, according to latest data by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said economies in the Middle East are "comparatively well placed to withstand the plunge in oil revenues and regionally-based carriers continue to gain market share".
It added that capacity in the region climbed by 11 percent, causing load factor to fall 1.6 percent to 77.2 percent.
For the first time in months, Middle East carriers were not the best performing in the world as Asia-Pacific airlines saw February traffic surge by 10.4 percent compared to the year-earlier period.
Globally, IATA said demand growth compared to February 2014, measured in total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), rose 6.2 percent, which was an improvement on the January year-over-year increase of 4.5 percent.
Monthly results were positively impacted by the Lunar New Year holiday which occurred in February this year, one month later than in 2014. February capacity increased by 5.6 percent, and load factor rose 0.5 percent to 78.5 percent.
“Lunar New Year celebrations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, certainly contributed to the robust February performance, but it is also clear that solid demand for connectivity is offsetting economic weakness in some regions including the Eurozone,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.