Middle East airlines rule the skies

Middle East airlines rule the skies
This year, airlines in the region maintained the double-digit growth for the third consecutive month.

Dubai - Demand surged 12%, capacity increased 13.6% in March

By Abdul Basit

Published: Fri 6 May 2016, 8:08 PM

Last updated: Sat 7 May 2016, 10:47 PM

Middle East carriers witnessed the largest increase in demand among all regions in March this year for international traffic compared to same period last year, according to the data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday.
Last year, Middle Eastern airlines ruled the sky by recording the strongest annual traffic growth and also increased the share of international traffic on massive expansion of Gulf carriers.
This year, airlines in the region maintained the double-digit growth for the third consecutive month.
"Middle East carriers experienced a 12 per cent rise in demand in March, which was the largest increase among regions. Capacity increased by 13.6 per cent, however, load factor dropped by 1.1 percentage points to 76.5 per cent," according to the apex body of airlines.
Globally, IATA said that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 5.3 per cent in March, compared to the same month last year. Capacity grew slightly faster at 5.9 per cent which pushed the average load factor down by half a percentage point to 79.6 per cent.
March performance shows a moderate slowdown on the year-on-year growth rates recorded in January (7.2 per cent) and February (8.6 per cent) even after adjusting for the leap-year impact in February. Demand for international traffic grew significantly more quickly (6.2 per cent) than that for domestic travel (3.7 per cent).
"While in line with long-term trends, demand growth in March represented a slow-down compared to January and February. It is premature to say whether this marks the end of the recent very strong results. We do expect further stimulus in the form of network expansion and declines in travel costs. However, the wider economic backdrop remains subdued," IATA director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said in a statement. Domestic demand rose 3.7 per cent in March compared to March 2015, a dramatic slowdown from the leap year-aided 7.8 per cent growth recorded in February. This was driven primarily by performance in the two largest markets, the US, which accounts for two of every five domestic passengers, and China. Domestic capacity climbed 4.3 per cent, and load factor retreated 0.4 percentage points to 81.6 per cent.
"Europe is the world's largest international market in terms of traffic flown by its carriers. And aviation supports 12 million European jobs and 4.1 per cent of the continent's GDP. But aviation could do much more if governments would address the triple whammy of high taxes, overly-complex and punitive regulations, and inadequate and inefficient infrastructure. Making Europe an easier place to do business will help aviation deliver even greater benefits to the economy," Tyler said.
- abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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