Middle East carriers remain on top
Published: Sep 04, 2014
Source: Khaleej Times


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Middle East carriers remain on top

Airlines in the region continue to benefit from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, International Air Transport Association said. 

Middle Eastern carriers remained on top in terms of growth in international passenger demand for the seventh consecutive month this year, apex aviation body announced on Wednesday.

“Airlines in the Middle East recorded the strongest growth at 9.2 per cent. This was ahead of a capacity expansion of 8.2 per cent. Load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 78 per cent. The carriers are benefitting from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel,” International Air Transport Association (Iata) said in its monthly report.

Airlines in the region continue to benefit from the strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, Iata said.

“The July year-on-year does not appear to have any significant impacts due to the timing of Ramadan. That is because the holiday spanned most of the month of July in both 2014 and 2013.”

During the first seven months of the year, global passenger traffic demand witnessed single-digit growth while Middle Eastern airlines continued double-digit growth except July.

“July was another strong month of growth for air travel. People are connecting by air in ever-greater numbers. 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,” Iata’s director-general and chief executive Tony Tyler said in a statement.

International passenger demand in June rose 5.3 per cent compared to the same month last year, with airlines in all regions recording growth and the strongest gains among Middle East carriers. Capacity climbed 5.3 per cent and load factor dipped 0.2 percentage points to 82.3 per cent.

“Airlines reported growth in July, which is a positive story for the global economy. Robust economic conditions support the expansion of travel. In turn 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,” Tyler added.

“We cannot ignore, however, the risks that could de-rail this trajectory. 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,” he explained -  By Abdul Basit, abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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