Passenger traffic growth lagged capacity growth for Middle East airlines for the sixth successive month in February, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The aviation authority said Middle East carriers had an 11.3 percent demand increase in February compared to a year ago.
This was exceeded, however, by a 16.9 percent rise in capacity that caused load factor to drop 3.7 percent to 73 percent, IATA added in a statement.
Globally, IATA said passenger traffic results for February showed continuing strong demand growth for domestic and international travel.
Total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 8.6 percent, compared to the same month last year. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 9.6 percent, and load factor declined 0.7 percent to 77.8 percent, it said.
"In the first two months of 2016, demand for passenger connectivity is off to its strongest start in eight years. However, February was the first month since the middle of 2015 in which capacity growth exceeded demand, which caused the global load factor to decline. It is unclear whether this signals the start of a generalized downward trend in load factor, but it bears watching," said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
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