Middle East airlines recorded a 7.7 per cent increase in passenger traffic in October, the strongest growth of any region.

Airlines in the region reported a 9.1 per cent rise in passenger demand in September (MEED 1:11:11). Globally, passenger traffic grew 3.6 per cent compared with October 2010, while cargo levels fell 4.7 per cent year-on-year.

“Cargo is the story of the month,” says Tony Tyler, director general and chief executive officer of Montreal-based International Air Transport Association (Iata). “Since [the middle of the year], the market has shrunk by almost 5 per cent and this is far greater than the 1 per cent fall in world trade.”

Iata recorded significant differences in regional passenger traffic.

North American carriers saw passenger traffic decline 1.9 per cent in October, which is attributed mainly to the capacity cuts by US carriers. European carriers recorded a 6.4 per cent rise in traffic, which has been generated by the strong export performances of the Northern European economies. Airlines in Asia-Pacific reported a 3.8 per cent increase in traffic levels in October as carriers are benefiting from the fast growth of Asian exports over the past year. Latin American airlines saw a 6.7 per cent growth in traffic and African airlines reported a 4.2 per cent increase in passenger demand.