Middle East carriers reported the strongest year-over-year demand growth in the world in January, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The region's airlines saw growth of 10.9 percent during the month, helped by ongoing network and fleet expansion, IATA said in a statement.
It added that capacity rose 12.9 percent and load factor dipped 1.4 percent to 77.8 percent.
Globally, IATA said demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 7.1 percent compared to January 2015.
This was ahead of the 2015 full year growth rate of 6.5 percent. January capacity rose 5.6 percent, with the result that load factor rose 1.1 percent to 78.8 percent, the highest load factor ever recorded for the first month of the year.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite recent turmoil in equity markets.
"The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth."
During 2015, the Middle East's share of the world's total passenger traffic market was 9.4 percent, with Asia Pacific taking the biggest share of 31.5 percent.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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