IATA: ‘Falling confidence contributing to slow growth in ME passenger traffic’

Traffic in August increases 3% but growth remains far below the double-digit increases of recent years
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Passenger traffic grew just under 3% in the Middle East region in August, an increase from a 1.7% rise in July, according to the latest data from The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

While this was better than the average of the past twelve months, it remains far below the double-digit growth trend of recent years.

The group announced global passenger traffic data for August 2019 showing that demand climbed 3.8% compared to the year-ago period. This was above the 3.5% annual increase for July.

IATA said the slow growth in the Middle East was due to a number of factors. Falling business confidence in parts of the region, combined with some key airlines going through a process of structural change and geopolitical tensions are all likely to be contributing factors, it said.

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Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “While we saw a pick-up in passenger demand in August compared to July, growth remains below the long-term trend and well-down on the roughly 8.5% annual growth seen over the 2016 to Q1 2018 period.

“This reflects the impact of economic slowdowns in some key markets, uncertainty over Brexit and the trade war between the US and China.

“Nonetheless, airlines are doing a great job of matching capacity to demand. With passenger load factors reaching a new high of 85.7% this is good for overall efficiency and passengers’ individual carbon footprint.”

Globally, August international passenger demand rose 3.3% compared to August 2018, improved from a 2.8% year-over-year growth achieved in July.

With the exception of Latin America, all regions recorded increases, led by airlines in Africa. Capacity climbed 2.9%, and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage point to 85.6%.

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