Middle East passenger traffic increased 13 per cent in April compared to the same period last year, the strongest growth figures in the world.

Regional airports reported large passenger growth as they were less heavily impacted by the volcanic eruption in Iceland, which caused widespread disruption to flights.

Airlines in the region recorded a 25.9 per cent increase in passenger traffic in March (MEED 28:4:10).

Globally, passenger figures fell 2.4 per cent due to huge volumes of flight cancellations because of an ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland that began erupting on 21 March. The ash cloud also meant that many European airports and airspace were shut down over a six-day period.

European airlines were the worst affected by the ash cloud with passenger numbers slumping 11.7 per cent in April. This may be compared to a 6.2 per cent growth in March.

North American carriers recorded a 1.9 per cent fall in passenger traffic due to the impact of the ash cloud on North Atlantic routes.

Asia Pacific carriers saw their previously strong growth slow to 3.5 per cent in April compared to the 12.9 per cent increase in passenger traffic the previous month, while African carriers reported 8.6 per cent passenger growth in April.

Airlines in Latin America posted a 1.2 per cent increase in passenger traffic in April.