Middle East air travel up 9 per cent, freight falls

AFP, Monday 31 Oct 2011

September increase in demand 'a pleasant surprise', says airline association, bracing itself for weaker months ahead

EgyptAir, a potential beneficiary of the upturn in Middle East traffic (Photo: Reuters)

Middle East air passenger traffic rose 9.1 per cent in September from a year ago, industry association IATA said on Monday, contributing to an overall 5.6 per cent rise in global travel.

However, the International Air Transport Association said it was bracing itself for poor months ahead amid falling business and consumer confidence and collapsing freight demand.

"September's strength in passenger demand was a pleasant surprise," said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.

The data "may reflect the robust conditions in emerging markets and travel booked earlier in the year when there was more economic optimism," added IATA.

European carriers were among the top performers for the month, with a 9.2 per cent increase in international traffic during the month.

"The weak euro is enhancing Europe's attractiveness to tourists and creating export opportunities for business," said IATA.

Demand was also strong for Latin American carriers, growing 10.6 per cent from the same period last year.

Asian airlines however recorded just 4.3 per cent in growth, while North American carriers also posted a weak increase in demand of 1.2 per cent.

However, freight demand was morose, with Asian Pacific carriers -- the biggest players -- reporting a 6.3 per cent drop for the month.

European airlines also recorded a 2.4 per cent contraction, while North American carriers reported flat freight traffic for September.

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