Middle East air passenger demand slows in September

Author: Arab NewsFri, 2017-11-03 17:50ID: 1509709866606449200DUBAI: Middle East carriers in September recorded the slowest rise in air passenger demand since February 2009, primarily because of a slowdown in the North American market.
Year-on-year growth in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), the industry bellwether for passenger demand, flown by Middle Eastern airlines slowed to 3.7 percent in September while annualized RPKs had just grown 2 percent since the year started.
“The Middle East-US market has been hit hard by the now lifted cabin ban on large portable electronic devices, as well as the various proposed travel bans to the US,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement.
“Traffic between the region and the US has fallen for six consecutive months through August.”
The Middle East carriers’ capacity in September rose 4.3 percent but load factor slipped 0.4 percentage points to 74.5 percent.
Gulf carriers, particularly Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, have been locked in heated rhetoric with their US competitors – American, Delta and United Airlines – over accusations the Gulf airlines unfairly receive state subsidies to stifle market competition and fuel their expansion.
The US government early this year imposed restrictions on flights emanating from 10 airports in the Gulf, Middle East and North Africa, over security and terrorism concerns. The gadget ban, which was later lifted, affected the businesses of Gulf carriers as they operate hubs onward to US routes.
American Airlines in July ended its codeshare agreements with Etihad and Qatar Airways in what it termed was “an extension of our stance against the illegal subsidies that these carriers receive from their governments.”
The Abu Dhabi carrier will cancel all flights to Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas by March 25 next year.
Global passenger traffic meanwhile rose 5.7 percent in September, the slowest year-on-year growth since February. Hurricanes Irma and Maria weighed heavily on the results, although growth already had been tapering, IATA said.
Capacity climbed 5.3 percent and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage points to 81.6 percent, which was a record for the month of September.
“September’s growth in passenger demand was healthy, notwithstanding the heavy impacts of extreme weather events on the Americas,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said in the statement. “Global economic conditions support rising passenger demand, but with higher cost inputs, the demand stimulation from lower fares has waned, suggesting a moderating trend in traffic growth.”
Main category: Business & EconomyTags: aviationIATApassenger demandEmiratesEtihadQatar Airwaysrelated_nodes: Mideast airlines get set for passenger screening on all US-bound flightsNew security screening for passengers on US bound airlinesEmirates to receive 100th A380, the world’s biggest passenger aircraft, next month

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