Mideast air traffic soars 19 pct in December
DUBAI – Middle East airlines posted a 19 percent rise in passenger growth in December on the year-earlier period, closing one of the worst years for the global aviation industry on a high note, industry figures showed on Wednesday.
Global passenger demand improved 4.5 percent in December, but demand for the whole of 2009 still witnessed its largest ever post-war decline, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
“These gains result from Middle Eastern carriers taking a larger share of long-haul connecting traffic over their hubs,” it said in a statement.
The Middle East region consistently outperformed the rest of the world last year, maintaining positive growth most months despite the global recession.
Global passenger demand for the full year was down 3.5 percent, IATA said.
“In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen,â€ Giovanni Bisignani, IATA director-general and CEO, said in the statement.
â€œWe have permanently lost 2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and 3.5 years of growth in the freight business.â€
Middle East freight demand also showed a significant improvement in December over the same month the previous year, climbing 32.1 percent to end the year up 3.9 percent.
Globally freight demand jumped a 24.4 percent during the month, which IATA put down to an â€œexceptionallyâ€ weak performance in December 2008. Full-year global freight demand declined 10.1 percent, IATA said.
However, the body said â€œoptimism is returning to the industry as purchasing managers survey indicators reached a 44-month high in December pointing towards increased freight volumes in the coming monthsâ€.