IATA says air travel soared in 2016, warns on ‘protectionist agenda’

Updated 02 February 2017

IATA says air travel soared in 2016, warns on ‘protectionist agenda’

GENEVA: Global air passenger traffic soared 6.3 percent in 2016 from a year earlier as air fares dropped, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday, warning against “protectionist agendas” that threaten reining in rising air travel.
“Air travel was a good news story in 2016,” said Alexandre de Juniac, head of the IATA.
The addition of more than 700 new airline routes last year, and the average fall in the price for return tickets of $44 (41 euros), “helped to make air travel even more accessible,” he said.
This allowed global passenger numbers to reach a record 3.7 billion, he said. Last year’s hike was well above the 10-year average annual growth rate of 5.5 percent.
Airline capacity meanwhile rose 6.2 percent, with the average load factor, or percentage of seats occupied, climbing 0.1 percent to a record annual high of 80.5 percent. De Juniac hailed the growing global demand, stressing that “our freedom to connect through air travel drives prosperity and enriches societies.”
“That freedom can only be given its fullest expression when governments facilitate the movement of people and goods,” he said, insisting that “aviation is the business of freedom (and) we must defend its social and economic benefits from barriers to travel and protectionist agendas.”
His comments came amid concerns over rising protectionism in developed economies, and especially in the US where President Donald Trump has issued a controversial order to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
De Juniac stressed that facilitating global travel was beneficial, urging governments to work with the industry to ensure “infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don’t choke growth.”
“If we can achieve that, there is plenty of potential for a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry to create more jobs and increase prosperity,” he said.
Growth in international traffic was particularly high last year, jumping 6.7 percent, with all regions seeing a rise in demand, compared to a 5.7-percent increase in domestic air travel.
The strongest overall growth in international travel was recorded by carriers in the Middle East, with an 11.8-percent hike, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 8.3 percent, and Latin America and Africa at 7.4 percent.
European carriers meanwhile saw their international traffic expand 4.8 percent, while North American airlines saw demand rise just 2.6 percent in 2016.

10 things you need to know on Tadawul today

Updated 25 min 19 sec ago

10 things you need to know on Tadawul today

Here are a few things you need to know as Saudi stocks start trading on Wednesday.

1) Saudi Aramco customers are unaffected by the terrorist attack at a petroleum products distribution plant in the north of Jeddah, a company official said.

2) The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) imposed penalties on 30 financial institutions due to violations of “responsible finance principles” for individuals.

3) Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co. signed two agreements to sell its stakes in Moroccan units, generating an accounting profit of SAR 14.16 million ($3.89 million).

4) Saudi Arabia moved beyond the concept of relative food security to achieve self-sufficiency in many sectors such as milk and poultry, according to Almarai Co.’s vice president of corporate affairs Faisal Marzouq Al-Fahadi.

5) Al-Khaleej Training and Education Co. signed a binding 30-day memorandum of understanding with the shareholders of Al-Raqi National Schools Co. to acquire 60% of the latter at SAR 12.82 million.

6) Saudi Reinsurance Company (Saudi Re) signed reinsurance contracts with Probitas Corporate Capital Ltd. with estimated gross written premiums of SAR 177 million.

7) Sadara Basic Services Co. said its parent company, Sadara Chemical Co. (Sadara), met the conditions specified by lenders under the Sadara project financing documents to achieve the project completion date.

8) Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. announced the opening of a new store in Al-Kharj, bringing the total number of branches across Saudi Arabia to 248.

9) Arabian Pipes Co. shareholders approved amending some of the company’s bylaws during the extraordinary general meeting.

10) Oil prices rose on Wednesday morning. Brent crude edged up 62 cents to $48.48/bbl, while WTI crude gained 52 cents to $45.43/bbl.

Powered by Argaam