The growth in demand for flights going to destinations outside Europe was reduced in February due to the unrest in the Middle East, according to the International Air Transport Association, as travellers opt for moreholidays in Europe.
They also believe that March’s Japanese earthquake and the resulting tsunami, along with the nuclear alert will hold back demand even more.
However, the IATA’s figures show growth overall, as international scheduled passenger traffic rose by 6 per cent in February, though this was 2.4 per cent less than January. The unrest in the Middle East is thought to have slowed international traffic by 1 per cent.
Giovanni Bisignani, the Director General of the IATA, said this presents a challenge to the industry as it recovers from the recession: “As such, it is responsible almost entirely for the slippage in passenger demand growth. Another series of shocks is denting the industry’s recovery from the recession.”
“As the unrest in Egypt and Tunisia spreads across the Middle East and North Africa, demand growth across the region is taking a step back.”
“The tragic earthquake and its aftermath in Japan will most certainly see a further dampening of demand from March. The industry fundamentals are good. But extraordinary circumstances have made the first quarter of 2011 very difficult.”
Despite these problems hitting the airline industry in the first part of the year, it should be noted business will likely pick up during the summer season, with holiday makers choosing countries in Europe such as Spain and Portugal instead of North Africa.