Passenger traffic growth and freight volumes muted in Middle East

Carriers in the region impacted by structural challenges and weaker business confidence in some countries
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Iata, Passenger traffic, Air freight, Freight volume, Middle East, Alexandre de Juniac

Passenger traffic growth in the Middle East in September was slower compared to other regions, according to the latest passenger traffic results from IATA.

Traffic in the region increased by 1.8%, which was a slowdown from a 2.9% rise in August. Capacity was up just 0.2%, with load factor climbing 1.2 percentage points to 75.2%.

Global passenger traffic results for September showed that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers) climbed 3.8% compared to the same month last year, broadly unchanged from August’s performance.

Capacity (available seat kilometers) increased by 3.3%, and load factor climbed 0.4% percentage point to 81.9%, which was a record for any September. 

IATA said that international traffic growth continues to be affected by a mix of structural challenges in some of the region’s large airlines, geopolitical risks and weaker business confidence in some countries.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “September marked the eighth consecutive month of below average demand growth. Given the environment of declining world trade activity and tariff wars, rising political and geopolitical tensions and a slowing global economy, it is difficult to see the trend reversing in the near term.”

Air freight volumes in the Middle East decreased 8% in September compared to the same month last year. This was the sharpest drop in freight demand of any region, according to IATA.

Escalating trade tensions and the slowing in global trade have affected the region’s performance due to its strategic position as a global supply chain link. Most key routes to and from the region have seen weak demand in the past few months.

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