Middle East airlines helped put a gloss on The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) November traffic results by recording 10.5 per cent international passenger demand growth and 16 per cent cargo growth, the strongest in any region.
There were caveats attached to both sets of figures though. An 11.2 per cent passenger regional capacity increase resulted in load factors falling 0.5 per cent to 73.5 per cent – meaning the month-on-month growth was a minimal 0.3 per cent – while the freight spike had to factor in festive-related orders and spending and impact of the Thai floods in the previous year.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said it was premature to say air cargo markets had reached a turning point and bounced back.
But coupled with positive US economic developments and improvement in business confidence in recent months, it expects cargo volumes will grow 1.4 per cent and passenger traffic will increase by 4.5 per cent worldwide in 2013.
Overall the commercial climate remains challenging with current air travel levels only two per cent higher than at the start of 2012 while the industry’s 1.3 per cent expected margin this year is very weak. “This is considerably weaker than the long-term average growth rate,” said Tyler.