Middle Eastern airlines posted a 2.9 percent traffic increase in August compared to the same month last year.
This was 1.7 percent higher than the figure reported in July, according to the International Air Transport Association, but still “far below the double-digit growth trend of recent years”.
Falling business confidence in parts of the region, coupled with some key airlines going through a process of structural change and geopolitical tensions have all been highlighted as contributing factors.
Overall in the region, revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) climbed 2.6 percent compared to August 2018; while capacity or available seat kilometres (ASK) rose by 1.3 percent, with load factor increasing 1.3 percentage points to 82.4 percent.
Global passenger traffic data for August showed that RPKs climbed 3.8 percent compared to the year-ago period – above the 3.5 percent annual increase for July. August capacity increased by 3.5 percent.
Load factor climbed 0.3 percentage points to 85.7 percent, which was a new monthly record, as airlines continue to maximize asset use.
“While we saw a pick-up in passenger demand in August compared to July, growth remains below the long-term trend and well-down on the roughly 8.5 percent annual growth seen over the 2016 to Q1 2018 period.
“This reflects the impact of economic slowdowns in some key markets, uncertainty over Brexit and the trade war between the US and China. Nonetheless, airlines are doing a great job of matching capacity to demand. With passenger load factors reaching a new high of 85.7 percent this is good for overall efficiency and passengers’ individual carbon footprint,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.