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Air passenger demand slows down in Mideast: IATA – Xinhua

DUBAI, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) — Middle Eastern carriers posted a 2.5 percent traffic increase in June, far below the 7.5 percent increase in international passenger demand in all world regions, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Sunday.

The performance for passenger demand in the Middle East market in June showed “a slowdown from the already subdued 3.7 percent growth seen in May,” said the Geneva-based civil aviation body.

IATA explained while most markets have seen demand slowing, “it is most visible on the Middle East-North America market,” affected by a combination of factors including the electronic-devices ban and the travel ban.

The “laptop ban” for 10 airports across the Middle East was pulled in step-by-step approach and completely cancelled on July 20 when Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport was exempted from the ban as the last hub in the region. However, a travel ban remains valid for nationals from six Middle Eastern states, namely Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

IATA said capacity in June in the region rose 3.1 percent, and load factor slipped down 0.4 percentage points to 68.9 percent. Any load factor below 70 percent is considered disadvantageous in civil aviation.

The report did not comment on the impact of the air transport ban the Saudi-led “Arab quartet” imposed on Qatar on June 5 when a diplomatic rift erupted between the two sides.

This ban means that Qatar Airways, the second biggest carrier in the Middle East behind the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Emirates Airline, can no longer fly to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. The quartet accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism” and has severed its ties since then.

“In every part of the world airport and air navigation infrastructure is struggling to cope with demand,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA.

He added that there are “plenty of examples” linking connectivity and economic prosperity. “But few governments have been able to deliver on the imperatives of sufficient capacity, quality aligned with user needs and affordability. This year’s strong growth is a reminder that there is no time to lose,” said de Juniac.

Air passenger demand slows down in Mideast: IATA – Xinhua}

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