Middle East carriers’ traffic growth slowed to 4.9 percent in March compared to a year ago, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday.
IATA said in a statement that the March demand growth represented a "considerable slowing" from January and February year-over-year.
The aviation authority said the drop in demand is related more to developments seen last year, while any impacts from the laptop ban will be visible from April results onward.
Overall, however, the region has seen the fastest year-on-year growth in international revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) so far this year, with robust growth on routes to and from Asia and Europe.
Capacity increased 9.4 percent, and load factor dropped 3.1 percent to 73.1 percent, IATA said.
Globally, IATA said demand rose 6.8 percent, compared to the same month a year ago. Capacity grew 6.1 percent and load factor climbed by half a percent to 80.4 percent, which was a record for the month.
March demand growth represented a moderate slowdown relative to performance in February after adjusting for the distortion in the year-to-year comparisons owing to the extra day in February 2016.
"Strong traffic demand continued throughout the first quarter, supported by a combination of lower fares and a broad-based upturn in global economic conditions. The price of air travel has fallen by around 10 percent in real terms over the past year and that has contributed to record load factors," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.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.
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