MidEast air passenger demand growth slips to 4-month low

Passenger demand growth for Middle East carriers slowed to 1.8 percent in September, a four-month low, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA said that as in previous months, the volatility in the region’s growth rate mainly reflected the developments in 2017 such as the cabin ban on large portable electronic devices and the proposed travel bans to the US.

Capacity rose 5.3 percent in September while load factor fell 2.4 percent to 72.3 percent, it added in a statement.

Globally, IATA said passenger traffic demand rose 5.5 percent compared to the same month in 2017. This was a slowdown from the 6.4 percent growth recorded in August year-over-year.

Capacity climbed 5.8 percent and load factor slipped for the first time in eight months, down 0.3 percent compared to the year-earlier period, to 81.4 percent.

IATA estimated that impacts from severe hurricane and typhoon activity in September shaved around 0.1-0.2 percent off expected growth.

“While September’s traffic growth was in line with the long-term average, it represents a moderation compared to recent months. This is likely owing to the anticipated reduced demand boost from lower airfares due to rising airline cost pressures, particularly fuel. Heightened uncertainty about trade policies and mounting protectionist policies may also be having an impact,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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