Political unrest slowed global aviation growth during February, according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association.
Scheduled international traffic for the month increased of by six and 2.3 per cent respectively for passenger and cargo demand compared to February 2010.
February demand growth was down significantly from the revised 8.4 per cent and 8.7 per cent expansion recorded in January for passenger and cargo traffic respectively.
This was largely down to a slowdown in the Middle East – which has been rocked by revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, while unrest continues in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.
Middle East airlines saw demand growth fall from 12 per cent in January to 8.4 per cent in February.
A capacity increase of 11.0 per cent resulted in a load factor of 72.2 per cent.
Political unrest in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria is expected to have an impact on these markets in March.
However, the three countries represent just six per cent of Middle Eastern traffic and 0.3 per cent of global capacity.
“As the unrest in Egypt and Tunisia spreads across the Middle East and North Africa, demand growth across the region is taking a step back,” said IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani.
“The tragic earthquake and its aftermath in Japan will most certainly see a further dampening of demand from March.”