Muscat: Middle East carriers saw year-on-year passenger growth demand expand by 9.7 per cent in February — the strongest among all the regions, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
Airlines in the region have benefited from strong growth in business-related premium travel throughout the year, particularly to Africa and other developing markets, according to the report.
Capacity rose 12.8 per cent and load factor slipped two percentage points to 72.1 per cent. Africa was the only region to see a decline in demand: November traffic fell 2 per cent compared to the same month in 2012.
Capacity climbed 2.6 per cent, pushing load factor down 3 percentage points to 63.5 per cent, by far the lowest for any region. Volatility in the air transport statistics rather than the start of a downward trend may have contributed to the lower number, as the demand environment is strong.
Globally, passenger traffic results for November 2013 showed a moderation in the pace of recent demand growth. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 4.1 per cent compared to November 2012. This was slower than the 6.5 per cent year-over-year growth recorded in October.
In November capacity expanded by 6.1 per cent which out-paced demand growth. This led to a 1.4 percentage point slip in the load factor to 76.3 per cent.
Demand drivers such as consumer and business confidence, however, continue to improve. This suggests that growth may accelerate in the coming months.
“Demand growth hit a speed bump in November. But with continued modest improvements in economic conditions the outlook remains positive,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s director general and CEO.
November 2013 international passenger demand was up 4.8 per cent compared to the year-ago period.
Capacity rose 6.3 per cent versus November 2012 and load factor dipped 1.0 percentage points to 75.5 per cent.
Demand for domestic travel rose 3.1 per cent in November 2013 compared to the year-ago period, a significant deceleration versus the October increase of 5.9 per cent. There was significant variation in performance among markets. Total domestic capacity was up 5.6 per cent and load factor dipped 1.9 percentage points to 77.7 per cent.
On January 1, commercial aviation celebrated its 100th birthday. From one airplane, one passenger, one pilot and one route across Tampa Bay, Florida, the global airline industry now carries more than 8 million passengers on more than 80,000 departures each day and supports 57 million jobs.
“Aviation drives the global economy. We connect people and businesses to markets; and bring together friends and families. Aviation creates opportunities for greater cultural understanding and carries medicine and supplies to those in need. In a single century, the industry has had a transformative impact on the way in which we live and interact. And it has firmly established itself as a force for good in our world,” said Tyler.
Economic, social benefits
“But aviation is also a team effort. Ensuring that the second century is as successful as the first requires the cooperation of stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. As we reflect on an amazing first hundred years, I hope that governments will take stock of the wide-reaching economic and social benefits of aviation-enabled connectivity. These far outstrip any short-term boosts to treasury revenues generated through taxes or fees.
“It is ironic that in the US — the country that gave birth to this amazing industry — political leaders in Washington agreed to raise taxes on air travellers.” he said.