Mideast airlines post record growth
Manama, February 1, 2008
Airlines in the Middle East were again the darlings of the industry last year as they posted the highest growth rate anywhere in the world.
In both passenger and freight traffic, the regional carriers were well ahead of the rest of the world in growth on the back of the strength of their economies, the impact of oil wealth and extended capacity and new routes, according the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
And this was a year which IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani described as the best in recent memory for the industry as a whole.
Carriers in the Middle East recorded an 18.1 per cent increase in passenger demand continuing a four-year trend of double-digit increases.
Middle East carriers also led all regions last year with a 10.1 per cent increase in freight demand though that was down sharply from the 16.1pc growth in 2006.
Global passenger traffic demand grew 7.4pc for the full year last year up considerably from the 5.9pc increase recorded during 2006.
International air freight traffic grew by 4.3pc last year. This is down slightly from growth of 4.6pc seen in 2006 and much lower than the 7-8pc growth trend of recent years.
'Strong passenger traffic growth of 7.4pc was a key component of the industry's $5.6 billion profit last year - the first black number since 2000,' Bisignani said. 'But it wasn't all good news. Freight slowed to 4.3pc, below the 4.6pc recorded in 2006.
'It was also below the 7.5pc at which global trade expanded, highlighting a competitiveness issue with shipping.
'Despite the ambiguity of strong passenger growth accompanied by weaker freight demand, we can say clearly that last year was the best in recent memory,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service