Middle East carriers recorded around 9.2 per cent growth in passenger traffic in the month of July, the strongest globally, according to the latest report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The growth was ahead of the capacity expansion at 8.2 per cent while load factor of the regional airlines rose to reach 78 per cent.
The report said that Middle East carriers are continuing to benefit from the strength of regional economies and growth in business-related premium travel.
Meanwhile, global passenger traffic demand was up 5.3 per cent in July compared to the same period last year, IATA said.
Capacity also expanded exactly in tandem with demand at 5.3 per cent, resulting in a global load factor of 82.3 per cent, unchanged from last year.
“July was another strong month of growth for air travel. People are connecting by air in ever greater numbers,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
“That’s true across all regions. Despite the various economic challenges, the outlook for passenger travel remains broadly positive. The overall sluggishness at the beginning of the year appears to be behind us with growth in China and other emerging economies offsetting recent deterioration in the Eurozone.”
He added that robust economic conditions support the expansion of travel industry, forecasting a bright future for the remainder of 2014.
“Connectivity stimulates economic growth and creates jobs. It’s a tried and tested virtuous circle. And the expectation is for continued solid growth over the remainder of 2014,” said Tyler.
But he also noted a number of risks that could de-rail the growth of the industry.
“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, weakness in the Eurozone, hostilities in Eastern Ukraine and instability in the Middle East loom large.
“Airlines are on track to record a profit of some $18 billion this year. But that is a net profit margin of just 2.4 per cent, which does not provide much of a buffer. So it is critical that governments shore-up connectivity with business friendly policies based on reasonable taxation, cost-efficient infrastructure and smart regulation,” said Tyler.