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Middle East airlines record slowdown in passenger traffic growth

The Middle East carriers’ passenger traffic volume was badly hit by the US decision to ban laptops aboard flights emanating from the region. (Reuters)

DUBAI: Middle East airlines recorded a slowdown in passenger traffic growth in June, hit by an earlier US decision to ban passengers from carrying laptops and other devices on flights emanating from the region.
Middle Eastern carriers posted a 2.5 percent traffic increase in June, which was a slowdown from the already subdued 3.7 percent growth seen in May, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
“While most markets have seen demand slowing, it is most visible on the Middle East-North America market, which has been affected by a combination of factors including the (recently-lifted) ban on personal electronic devices, as well as a wider negative stimulation from the travel ban that has now been implemented for certain countries,” IATA said.
“However, passenger traffic between the Middle East and North America was already slowing in early 2017, in line with a moderation in the pace of growth of the largest carriers in the region.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration in July has again allowed Middle East carriers to let passengers bring laptops and large electronic devices aboard US-bound flights.
During the first six months, the Middle East carriers’ international revenue passenger-kilometer — which is a measure of the volume of passengers carried by an airline — grew by 7.3 percent year-on-year, the slowest first half growth since 2003.
It was the only region to see growth decelerate relative to the same period a year ago, IATA said.
“The weakness is now visible in the traffic trends on the biggest routes to and from the region (to Asia and Europe), but is most acute on the Middle East to North America market,” IATA said.

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