Middle East air passenger demand falls 3% in March

March slump marks a second consecutive month of declining air traffic, according to the International Air Transport Association
Middle East air passenger demand falls 3% in March
(FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
By Sam Bridge
Sat 11 May 2019 12:31 AM

Air passenger demand in the Middle East fell 3 percent in March, marking a second consecutive month of declining traffic, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA said the traffic slump reflects the broader structural changes in the industry which have been taking place in the region.

It added that capacity increased 2.3 percent and load factor fell 4 percent to 73.8 percent.

Globally, IATA said passenger traffic demand rose by 3.1 percent compared to the same month a year ago, which was the slowest pace for any month in nine years.

This largely was owing to the timing of the Easter holiday, which fell nearly a month later than in 2018.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, the underlying growth rate has been relatively steady since October 2018 at a 4.1 percent annualised pace.

Capacity for March grew 4.2 percent and load factor dropped 0.9 percent to 81.7 percent.

“While traffic growth slowed considerably in March, we do not see the month as a bellwether for the rest of 2019. Nevertheless, the economic backdrop has become somewhat less favourable, with the IMF having recently revised its GDP outlook downward for a fourth time in the past year,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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