By Staff writer
New IATA figures says region's airlines witness growth that's more than double the global average
Air passenger demand growth in the Middle East was more than double the global average in March, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said in a statement that Middle East carriers experienced a 12 percent rise in demand in March, which was the largest increase among regions.
It added that capacity increased 13.6 percent, reducing load factor by 1.1 percent to 76.5 percent.
Globally, IATA said demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), rose 5.3 percent compared to the same month last year.
Capacity grew slightly faster at 5.9 percent which pushed the average load factor down by half a percent to 79.6 percent.
IATA said March performance showed a moderate slowdown on the year-on-year growth rates recorded in January (7.2 percent) and February (8.6 percent) even after adjusting for the leap-year impact in February.
Demand for international traffic grew significantly more quickly (6.2 percent) than that for domestic travel (3.7 percent), it added.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "While in line with long-term trends, demand growth in March represented a slow-down compared to January and February. It is premature to say whether this marks the end of the recent very strong results.
"We do expect further stimulus in the form of network expansion and declines in travel costs. However, the wider economic backdrop remains subdued," he added.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.