Middle East carriers have seen a passenger growth of 1.5% year-on-year in January, IATA has said in a report.
Among various regions, Middle East had the “weakest” growth in January, although it was an improvement upon the 0.1% drop in traffic recorded in December, 2018, the report said.
“It is premature to say whether this improvement represents a trend. Capacity climbed 3.2% and load factor fell 1.3 percentage points to 75.6%,” IATA said.
IATA’s global passenger traffic results for January showed traffic (revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 6.5% compared to January 2018. This was the fastest growth in six months. January capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) rose 6.4%, and load factor inched up 0.1 percentage point to 79.6%.
“2019 has started on a positive note, with healthy passenger demand in line with the 10-year trend line. However, market signals are mixed, with indications of weakening business confidence in developed economies and a more nuanced picture across the developing world,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
International passenger demand rose 6.0% in January compared to the same month last year, which was up from a 5.3% rise in December year-over-year. All regions recorded growth, led by Europe for a fourth consecutive month. Capacity increased 5.8% and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage point to 79.8%.
Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 7.1% compared to January 2018, solidly above the 5% growth in December. Capacity rose 5.1%, and load factor surged 1.5 percentage points to 81.7%, second highest among the regions.
Healthy regional growth is being underpinned by rising incomes and an increase in the number of airport pairs, IATA said.
African airlines saw January traffic rise 5.1%, up from 3.8% in December. Concerns continue about the region’s largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, however. The region’s capacity rose 2.9%, and load factor jumped 1.5 percentage points to 70.9%.
Domestic traffic climbed 7.3% in January, year-on-year, the fastest pace since August and up from 5.6% growth in December. All markets showed growth, with China, India and Russia posting double-digit annual increases. Domestic capacity increased 7.5% and load factor slid 0.1 percentage point to 79.3%, IATA said.
“Aviation is the business of freedom, liberating us from the constraints of geography and distance, but to be effective we require borders that are open to the movement of people and goods. We welcome the latest EU proposals to adopt a common-sense approach to maintaining and enabling the connectivity between the UK and the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“But this is just a temporary solution and with Brexit still set for March 29, we urge both sides to agree a comprehensive Brexit package that will ensure the seamless air connectivity travelers expect,” de Juniac added.
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