Global traffic grew 5.5 per cent year-on-year, a slowdown from 6.4 per cent recorded in August
Middle East carriers post slowest traffic among all regions in September
Middle East passenger traffic slowed in September to a four-month low, the weakest performance among all regions, amid volatility in the growth rate, the International Air Transport Association said on Wednesday.
Regional airlines recorded a 1.8 per cent increase in demand as capacity rose 5.3 per cent and the load factor – a measure of capacity utilisation – fell 2.4 percentage points to 72.3 per cent, the trade body said in a report.
"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," the global aviation organisation said.
Global traffic grew 5.5 per cent year-on-year, a slowdown from the 6.4 per cent recorded in August as capacity grew 5.8 per cent and the load factor dipped for the first time in eight months to 81.4 per cent. Iata estimates that hurricanes and typhoons in September trimmed 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points from expected growth.
Though September’s global traffic growth "was in line with the long-term average, it represents a moderation compared to recent months,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and chief executive. Subdued growth is a result of “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.”
The highest grossing region was Latin America, with 7 per cent growth, followed by Africa with 6 per cent and Asia Pacific with 5.4 per cent.
In October, Iata said the number of travellers is expected to double to 8.2 billion in 2037, boosted by strong travel demand in Asia-Pacific, but it warned growth could be dampened by rising protectionism.
Iata forecasts passenger numbers will increase by 3.5 per cent, based on compound annual growth, over 20 years but that may be curtailed to 2.4 per cent if restrictions on free trade, such as imposing tariffs, continue in what it calls a "reverse globalisation" scenario. The industry body revised its growth forecast of 3.5 per cent down by 0.1 per cent from an earlier report, which means 60 million fewer passengers over 20 years.
“With growth comes the opportunity to make an even bigger contribution to global well-being,” said Mr de Juniac. "But to grow the benefits of aviation, governments need to do their part, by providing sufficient airport and airspace capacity, at an affordable price, and at a quality aligned with our technical and commercial needs.”