Middle East carriers reported a 17.8 per cent growth in passenger traffic in 2010, compared with figures in 2009, the strongest growth in any region.

The increase is mainly attributed to the aircraft deliveries to Gulf-based airlines and more flights. Demand in December was 14.1 per cent higher than the same month the previous year.

Passenger volumes in November 2010 were 16.7 per cent higher than the year before (MEED 30:12:10).

Montreal-based International Air Transport Association (Iata) reports an 8.2 per cent rise in global passenger traffic for 2010. Iata also says that there was a 20.6 per cent increase in freight volumes.

“The world is moving again. After the biggest demand decline in the history of aviation in 2009, people started to travel and do business again in 2010,” says Giovanni Bisignani, director general and chief executive officer of Iata.

Severe weather, including snow storms in Europe and North America in December put a dent in recovery. Total passenger traffic declined about 4.9 per cent because of weather conditions compared to December 2009.

European carriers saw passenger traffic rise 5.1 per cent in 2010, even though the region was the hardest hit by December’s weather. In that month, traffic dipped 3.3 per cent compared with the year before.

In other regions, North American carriers recorded a passenger traffic increase of 7.4 per cent in 2010, while carriers in Asia Pacific recorded a rise of 9 per cent. Airlines in Latin America and Africa rose 8.2 per cent and 12.9 per cent respectively.