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Thu 11 Jan 2018 01:54 PM

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Middle East air travel demand growth slips to lowest in world

New IATA figures show 4.9% regional growth in November compared to global average of 8%

Middle East air travel demand growth slips to lowest in world

Air passenger demand growth in the Middle East was the lowest in the world during November, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Middle East carriers reported a 4.9 percent demand increase, which was the lowest among the regions.

IATA said in a statement that the market segment to and from North America continues to be affected by the now-lifted ban on personal electronic devices, as well as a wider impact stemming from the proposed travel restrictions to the US from certain countries.

Capacity in the region rose 4.3 percent during November and load factor lifted 0.4 percent to 70.1 percent, it added.

Globally, IATA said total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 8 percent compared to November 2016, the fastest growth rate in five months and up from a 7.3 percent year-over-year rise in October.

Capacity increased by 6.3 percent, and load factor rose 1.2 percent to 80.2 percent.

"The airline industry is in a good place entering 2018. November’s strong demand gives the industry momentum. The number of unique city-pair connections now tops 20,000. Passengers not only have more travel choices than ever, the cost of travel in real terms has never been cheaper," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

"Challenges, however, remain. Security threats continue. Infrastructure issues persist. Fees and charges are a growing part of the cost base. And in many cases airports and air traffic management struggle to keep pace with demand and technology advancements. These and other challenges can only be addressed in partnership with governments," he added.

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