TRAVEL GAZETTE – Middle East carriers saw in March a 12 percent rise in demand, the largest monthly increase among regions, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday. Capacity increased 13.6 percent in the region, the load factor dropped 1.1 percentage points to 76.5 percent.
Globally, passenger demand rose by 6.2 percent. Capacity grew slightly faster worldwide, at 5.9 percent which pushed the average load factor down by half a percentage point to 79.6 percent.
Meanwhile, Mideast carriers continue to expand their global network. Earlier in the week, Dubai’s state-owned Emirates Airline, the world’s fastest growing carrier, started flying to Yinchuan and Zhengzhou, the carrier’s fourth and fifth destination in China.
Emirates also upgraded its flight from Dubai to Taipeh by using an Airbus A380 Superjumbo. Qatar Airways said it would add 14 new destinations in 2016, including a new direct flight between Doha and Auckland, which is poised to become the world’s longest in civil aviation.
“We do expect further stimulus in the form of network expansion and declines in travel costs. However, the wider economic backdrop remains subdued,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.