The region’s airlines recorded 15.1 per cent passenger growth in August, buoyed by Ramadan and ongoing capacity expansion, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) global passenger data.
With the Middle East showing the strongest year-on-year travel growth among all regions, IATA expects the strong demand trend to continue, with solid progress in non-oil producing sectors in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said trading conditions are still tough with high oil prices, stiff competition and regulatory hurdles. “But demand growth remains a bright spot with most indications pointing towards an acceleration in the fourth quarter,” he said.
August international passenger demand was up 7.5% year-on-year, capacity rose 5.6% and load factors climbed 1.5 per cent to 84 per cent.
Last week IATA revised its 2013 forecasts, predicting Middle East carriers will post profits of $1.6 billion. Cost control, consolidation, joint ventures and product innovations are among the measures helping airlines achieve efficiencies.