The region’s airlines saw a 3.5 percent growth in traffic compared to the same month in 2007 and alongside Latin American carriers (up 4.5 percent) were the only positives in a report full of negatives. But while better than the September traffic figures, both regions remain well below the double-digit growth rates experienced over the first half of the year.
Economic forecasts for both regions see considerable slowing of GDP growth over the next 12 months to the two to four percent range and the IATA said airlines in both regions can expect a continued slowing of growth.
The Middle East fared better than most in the October figures which showed a second consecutive month of global decline.
International passenger traffic declined by 1.3 percent compared to the same month in the previous year – a smaller decline than the 2.9 percent drop experienced in September.
The October load factor was 75 percent, approximately two percent below the previous year’s levels. meanwhile, international air freight traffic contracted by 7.9 percent in October – the fifth consecutive month of increasingly severe drops.
Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “The gloom continues and the situation of the industry remains critical. While the drop in oil prices is welcome relief, recession is now the biggest threat to airline profitability.
“The slight slowing in the decline of passenger traffic is likely only temporary. The deepening slump in cargo markets is a clear indication that the worst is yet to come.”