Middle East carriers trump international rivals in passenger growth

Guest Writer

Middle East airlines have once again posted the fastest growth in IATA’S latest international scheduled traffic study, with passenger numbers rising 18% on average in June compared to the previous corresponding period in 2009.The report showed continued strong demand growth as the industry recovers from the impact of the global financial crisis. Compared to June 2009, international passenger demand was up 11.9% while international scheduled freight traffic showed a 26.5% improvement.Capacity increased only slightly above demand improvements during the month, keeping load factors in line with historical highs at 79.8% for passenger traffic and 53.8% for freight.”The industry continues to recover faster than expected, but with sharp regional differences. Europe is recovering at half the speed of Asia with passenger growth of 7.8% compared to the 15.5% growth in Asia-Pacific,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.Outside of Europe, all regions reported double-digit growth in passenger traffic. “The question is how long the industry can maintain double-digit momentum. Business confidence remains high and there is no indication that the recovery will stall any time soon. But, with government stimulus packages tailing off and restocking largely completed, we do expect some slowing over the months ahead,” said Bisignani. “We remain cautiously optimistic. A clear indication of the growing confidence is the more than 400 aircraft orders announced at the Farnborough Air Show. This is good news that will bring environmental benefits through improved fuel efficiency. But it will also make the challenge of matching capacity to demand much more difficult.”

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