Industry body said passenger volumes have been moving sideways over the last 12-15 months
Middle East-based airlines reported a 0.8 percent drop in international passenger demand in February, the only region in the world to report a year-on-year decline, according to the latest industry figures.
With demand falling and overall capacity rising 2.9 percent, average load factors fell 2.7 percentage points to 72.6 percent.
“Broadly speaking, passenger volumes of the region’s airlines have been moving sideways for the past 12 - 15 months,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its latest report.
The February Middle East IATA figures were in contract to the global trend, which showed a 4.6 percent rise in international passenger demand for the month. Growth was slightly slower than in January, when 5.9 percent year-on-year growth was recorded.
European carriers showed the strongest performance for a fifth consecutive month, with demand up 7.6 percent, despite concerns over Brexit. Airlines in North American and the Asia-Pacific region both saw demand rise 4.2 percent, while Latin American airlines saw traffic rise 4.3 percent and African carrier enjoyed a 2.5 percent rise in demand.
“After January’s strong performance, we settled down a bit in February, in line with concerns about the broader economic outlook. Continuing trade tensions between the US and China, and unresolved uncertainty over Brexit are also weighing on the outlook for travel,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, was quoted as saying.