Passenger traffic growth on Middle Eastern airlines exceeded growth across all other regions, according to the latest statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Passenger demand increased by 14.3 per cent in January compared to the same month last year. Capacity grew at an even rate of 14.4 per cent, with load factors standing at 78.6 per cent, above the global average.

The second fastest growing region in terms of passenger demand was in Latin America, where traffic grew by 12.2 per cent in January compared to the same month last year.

European airlines saw the lowest level of growth, with demand increasing by 2.1 per cent.

Globally, demand was up 2.7 per cent on the previous January, very slightly ahead of a 2.2 per cent expansion in global capacity. Global load factor stood at 77.1 per cent.

The IATA sees the passenger statistics as growing in line with improving business confidence levels. However, it notes that the impact of US budget cuts have yet to be fully felt by the global aviation market and airlines will continue to struggle with high fuel costs.