According to the September figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) for Middle East carriers rose 1.8%, which is a four-month low.
As in previous months, the volatility in the region’s growth rate mainly reflects 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%, and load factor fell 2.4 percentage points to 72.3%.
Meanwhile, global passenger traffic results for September showed that demand rose 5.5% compared to the same month in 2017.
This was a slowdown from the 6.4% growth recorded in August year-over-year. Capacity climbed 5.8% and load factor slipped for the first time in eight months, down 0.3 percentage point compared to the year-earlier period, to 81.4%.
IATA estimated that impacts from severe hurricane and typhoon activity in September shaved around 0.1-0.2 percentage point off expected growth. However, even after accounting for these impacts, monthly traffic demand was below the 6.7% year-to-date pace.
Said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO: “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.”
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