Muscat: Middle East carriers' demand jumped 10.8 per cent in June, the largest increase for any region and reflecting the continued strength of regional economies and solid growth in business-related premium travel, a latest report reveals.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its global passenger traffic results for June also said that capacity by the Middle East carriers climbed just 5.9 per cent, propelling load factor up 3.7 percentage points to 82.1 per cent.
The report further says that global passenger traffic results for June showed a modest deceleration in demand growth compared to the prior month. Total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 4.7 per cent over the year-ago period, which was below the 6.2 per cent year-on-year increase recorded in May 2014.
The global June capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 5.0 per cent, causing load factor to slip 0.2 percentage points to 81.5 per cent.
"June traffic growth at 4.7 per cent is encouraging even though it is a slight weakening on May's performance. Earlier signs of a softening in demand are dissipating. While that's good news there are many risks in the political and economic environment that need careful monitoring," said Tony Tyler, IATA's Director General and CEO.
June international passenger demand rose 5.5 per cent compared to the same month last year, with airlines in all regions except Africa recording growth and the strongest gains among Middle East carriers. Capacity climbed 5.7 per cent and load factor dipped 0.2 percentage points to 81.4 per cent.
European carriers saw demand increase 5.6 per cent in June versus June 2013. This is consistent with steady and continued economic recovery for the region. Capacity rose 5.3 per cent and load factor climbed 0.3 percentage points to 83.8 per cent.
Asia-Pacific carriers' traffic rose 4.9 per cent compared to the year-ago period but capacity rose 6.7 per cent and load factor slipped 1.3 percentage points to 77.9 per cent. The outlook for this region looks broadly positive, with measures of manufacturing activity and export orders pointing to better performance of China.
North American airlines experienced a 3.1 per cent rise in traffic compared to June a year ago. Capacity rose 5.9 per cent, however, which caused load factor to fall 2.2 percentage points to 85.1 per cent, which still was the highest among the regions. Recent data from the US suggest that underlying growth trends in business activity are positive and the unemployment rate is showing improvement.
Latin American airlines' traffic rose 7.1 per cent compared to June 2013. Capacity rose 6.6 per cent and load factor climbed 0.4 percentage points to 79.5 per cent. While growth was solid, it was below the 8.1 per cent annual result for 2013. Part of the softness is owing to a significant reduction in capacity this year compared to last as well as sluggishness in major economies and consequently, regional trade growth.
African airlines saw a 2.7 per cent reduction in demand in June, while capacity climbed 2.0 per cent, resulting in a 3.3 percentage point drop in load factor to 67.3 per cent, the lowest load factor for any region. The weakness could be attributable to adverse economic developments in some parts of the continent, including the slowdown of the major economy of South Africa.