IATA: Gulf carriers 'an integral part of the global aviation system'
IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler stated (16-Oct-2012) the Middle East "has been one of the bright spots in an otherwise difficult year for aviation". IATA estimates airlines in the region will earn USD700 million in profits in 2012, a "small decline" from the USD1 billion which airlines in the region made in 2011. Proportionally this is a smaller decline than IATA expect at the global level, where profits have more than halved from last year’s level. Mr Tyler said the striking feature of the region has been the growth by Middle East airlines. For the year to Aug-2012, international passenger growth by regional carriers has been 16.9%, compared to a global average of 6.6%, and 14.1% growth in cargo compared to a global decline of 2.6%. IATA expects profits for Middle Eastern carriers in 2013 will increase to USD1 billion. Mr Tyler commented that the alliances and tie-up recently announced by Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways "shows that the Gulf carriers are now seen as an integral part of the global aviation system". Growth and capacity in this region "are clearly going to continue to expand, so it makes sense for strategic alliances to make use of the connections and traffic that are establishing themselves into and through the region." [more - original PR]