Middle East carriers recorded a 17.5 per cent increase in passenger traffic in May compared to the same time last year.

Montreal-based International Air Transport Association (Iata) says that carriers in the region continue to record strong numbers of passengers through their hubs although the pace of growth is starting to slow down.

Airlines in the region recorded a growth of 13 per cent in April (MEED 27:5:10).

In global terms, airlines recorded an 11.7 per cent increase in international passenger traffic as demand recovered following the impact of the ash cloud caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland, which heavily affected traffic in April.

European carriers still showed the slowest growth in passenger traffic at 8.3 per cent, which Iata attributes to weak economic growth in the region, questions over financial stability and tightening fiscal policies in the region.

It was airlines in Latin America that posted the strongest growth in passenger traffic of 23.6 per cent supported by the region’s strong economic upturn.

African carriers enjoyed a 16.9 per cent growth in passenger traffic in May as the region’s airlines benefit from growing economies.

Airlines in North America saw passenger traffic increase 10.9 per cent while carriers in Asia-Pacific saw an increase of 13.2 per cent in May.