DUBAI // Middle Eastern airlines were the only region witnessing growth in passenger demand and air freight in July, versus last year, as air traffic begins to show signs of recovery, a global industry body said on Thursday. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the region saw 13.2 per cent growth in passenger traffic in July, due to increased capacity and greater market share in traffic between Europe and Asia.
The figure was a slight increase from June's 12.9 per cent. It was also the only region to grow in international air freight, posting a 1 per cent growth in demand compared to July 2008. Regional carriers, such as Emirates Airline, Air Arabia, and Jazeera Airways, struggling to cope with a sharp drop in international passenger travel, have cut rates to keep traffic high. Global airlines carried 11.3 per cent less cargo and 2.9 per cent fewer passengers in July than in the same month a year ago, IATA said.
Year-on-year declines were less than in June, and compared with the previous month both measures increased by more than 3 per cent, the association said. "Airlines need to make their money in the June-August peak travel season. Planes are full. Load factors are high. But revenues are way down," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and chief executive in a statement. "Conserving cash, effectively managing capacity and cutting costs will be the long-term theme for every business in the air transport value chain," he added.