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Tue 30 Mar 2010 03:11 PM

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Mideast carriers winning lucrative long-haul Asia battle

Region posts 26% growth in passenger traffic during February- IATA.

Mideast carriers winning lucrative long-haul Asia battle
SKIES THE LIMIT: Feb stats show a 25.8 percent growth over the same month last year for the regions carriers. (Getty Images)

Middle East carriers are winning the battle over the highly competitive long-haul Asia connections, according to the latest monthly data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

February’s statistics showed that regional carriers posted a 25.8 percent growth over the same month last year, in comparison to the global average of plus 9.5 percent.

The region was the second highest growth was Asia-Pacific, with 13.5 percent growth, followed by Africa (9.8 percent), Latin America (8.5 percent), North America (4.4 percent) and Europe (4.3 percent).

IATA pointed out that while the figures were positive, February 2009 marked the bottom of the passenger cycle during the downturn, and that global demand needed to recover by another 1.4 percent to reach next year’s levels.

On the cargo side, the results were even more impressive, with global average growth standing at plus 26.5 percent in February in comparison to the same month last year.

The Middle East saw growth of 33.1 percent, a little behind Asia Pacific and Latin America, but it should be born in mind that the latter two markets fell far more substantially during the recession.

“We are moving in the right direction,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“In two to three months, the industry should be back to pre-recession traffic levels. This is still not a full recovery. The task ahead is to adjust to two years of lost growth.”

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