Middle Eastern airlines boost April international air traffic

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday Middle East airlines’ passenger traffic was boosted by 16% in April, more than double the global average.

It also noted that international air passenger traffic rose 7.4% in April year-on-year while passenger demand registered a double digit increase in the second half of 2011.

IATA report added that a fall from the 20.9% growth was recorded in March, but the March result was distorted due to the impact of the Arab Spring in 2011.

The findings also took note of faster growing demand than the existing 12.7% capacity expansion in April while load factors remained high at 78.3%.

Middle Eastern carriers also delivered a promising cargo performance with a 14.5% increase in demand compared to a 15.1% increase in capacity.

IATA said total passenger demand rose 6.1% globally while freight demand went down 4.2% in April 2011.

“It’s a volatile and risky world. Airlines are being cautious managing through the uncertainty. There are signs that cargo has bottomed out. Amid the many distortions that have marked the first four months of the year, it is possible to identify the start of a growth trend in cargo for some parts of the world,” said said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“But economic uncertainty in Europe makes it very difficult to be optimistic in the near to medium-term,” he added.

“The growth in passenger markets is encouraging. But it comes against an environment of continuing high oil prices and growing economic uncertainty. So translating the stronger demand into profits will be difficult,” the IATA chief concluded.

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