ME Airlines See 16% Growth

Passenger demand in the region grew 16 per cent year-on-year in April, according to the IATA.

Middle East airlines are once again beginning to witness a growth in traffic with passenger demand rising 16 per cent year-on-year in April 2012, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its latest report.

“Although this is a fall from the 20.9 per cent growth recorded in March, the March result was distorted by the impacts of the Arab Spring in 2011,” it said.

“Furthermore, demand did grow faster than the 12.7 per cent capacity expansion in April and load factors remained high at 78.3 per cent,” it added.

Regional airlines also saw cargo demand increasing 14.5 per cent, but this was behind a 15.1 per cent increase in capacity.

Internationally, IATA said that air travel rose 7.4 per cent in April this year compared to the year-ago period, much higher than a capacity expansion of 4.3 per cent.

Load factors stood at 79.1 per cent, up 2.3 percentage points from April 2011.

“The growth in passenger markets is encouraging,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO said in the report.

“But it comes against an environment of continuing high oil prices and growing economic uncertainty. So translating the stronger demand into profits will be difficult,” he said.

Globally, all the markets except Africa saw traffic demand growing faster than capacity expansion.

“In the face of economic uncertainty, many airline managements will be going back to first principles careful capacity management, cost control and conserving cash. This will be the order of the day until some clarity comes to the global economic outlook,” said Tyler.

“Airlines will be particularly looking to their industry partners to share the imperative on cost control,” he added.