Middle East airlines recorded a 9.7 per cent increase in passenger traffic in July, compared with the same month in 2010.

In June, regional carriers experienced a 6.4 per cent rise in traffic (MEED 28:7:11).

In global terms, passenger traffic increased 5.9 per cent in July.

“Passenger travel bucked the gloomy economic outlook with a 5.9 per cent increase in July. This increase was likely based on the much more optimistic economic outlook that marked the beginning of the year,” says Tony Tyler, director general and chief executive officer of Montreal-based International Air Transport Association (Iata).

“With business and consumer confidence now tanking, sluggishness in international trade and high fuel prices, the expectation is for a weaker end to the year,” he adds.

Around the world, Latin American carriers were the strongest performers, experiencing a passenger traffic increase of 10.3 per cent in July.

European carriers recorded an 8.9 per cent rise in July demand while North American carriers saw a 3.9 per cent rise in traffic due to a bleak economic outlook.

Elsewhere, Asia-Pacific carriers recorded a 5.8 per cent in passenger traffic as airlines in the region adjust to slower growth in China and the continuing effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

African carriers posted a 6.6 per cent rise in July demand.