ME air travel demand strongest in 2015

Published: Saturday, March 12, 2016

Demand for air travel in 2015 was the strongest it has been since the global financial crisis in 2010, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said recently.
Global passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), rose 6.5 per cent in 2015 when compared to 2014, according to data released in an emailed statement. It was also above the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent.
The Middle East was the strongest market in 2015 with an average annual traffic increase of 10.5 per cent with carriers from the region carrying 14.2 per cent of all international passengers. North America carriers carried 13.4 per cent of all international passengers. Capacity among the Middle East carriers was more than demand, rising by 13.2 per cent, which pushed the load factor, or average number of seats filled, down by 1.7 percentage points to 76.4 per cent.
“While economic fundamentals were weaker in 2015 compared to 2014, passenger demand was boosted by lower airfares,” IATA said in the statement.
Globally, annual capacity rose 5.6 per cent and the load factor increased by 0.6 percentage points to a record annual high of 80.3 per cent.
By comparison, the air freighter market grew by just 2.2 per cent in 2015, according to IATA data released recently. This compares to the 5 per cent growth seen in 2014.
The Middle East carriers bucked the global downward trend with a reported air freighter growth of 11.3 per cent, the strongest out all regions. For the month of December Middle East air freight traffic grew 4 per cent.