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)
Updated 06 August 2017
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Middle East airlines record slowdown in passenger traffic growth

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.


German industry groups warn US on tariffs before Trump-Juncker meeting

Updated 22 July 2018
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German industry groups warn US on tariffs before Trump-Juncker meeting

  • Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico on June 1
  • Trump is threatening to extend them to EU cars and car parts

BERLIN: German industry groups warned on Sunday, before European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meets US President Donald Trump this week, that tariffs the United States has imposed or is threatening to introduce risk harming America itself.
Citing national security grounds, Washington imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico on June 1 and Trump is threatening to extend them to EU cars and car parts. Juncker will discuss trade with Trump at a meeting on Wednesday.
“The tariffs under the guise of national security should be abolished,” Dieter Kempf, head of Germany’s BDI industry association said. Juncker should tell Trump that the United States would harm itself with tariffs on cars and car parts, he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
The German auto industry employed more than 118,000 people in the United States and 60 percent of what they produced was exported. “Europe should not let itself be blackmailed and should put in a confident appearance in the United States,” he added.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio on Sunday he hoped it was still possible to find a solution that was attractive to both sides. “For us, that means we stand by open markets and low tariffs,” he said
He said the possibility of US tariffs on EU cars was very serious and stressed that reductions in international tariffs in the last 40 years and the opening of markets had resulted in major benefits for citizens.
EU officials have tried to lower expectations about what Juncker can achieve, and played down suggestions that he will arrive in Washington with a novel plan to restore good relations.
Altmaier said it was difficult to estimate the impact of any US car tariffs on the German economy, but added: “Tariffs on aluminum and steel had a volume of just over six billion euros. In this case we would be talking about almost ten times that.”
He said he hoped job losses could be avoided but noted that trade between Europe and the United States made up around one third of total global trade.
“You can imagine that if we go down with a cold in the German-American or European-American relationship, many others around us will get pneumonia so it’s highly risky and that’s why we need to end this conflict as quickly as possible.”
Eric Schweitzer, president of the DIHK Chambers of Commerce, told Welt am Sonntag the German economy had for decades counted on open markets and a reliable global trading system but added: “Every day German companies feel the transatlantic rift getting wider.”