However regional figures suggest laptop ban may have affected traffic from Middle East to US

IATA has reported strong passenger traffic growth in their latest year-on-year figures.

Passenger demand rose 10.7% in April compared with the same month last year. However, regional figures indicate that the cabin ban on large portable electronic devices (PEDs) from 10 Middle Eastern and African countries appears to have hindered Middle East-North America passenger traffic.

There are indications that passengers are avoiding routes where the large PED ban is in place

In contrast to all the other regions, the April growth rate for Middle East airlines was slower than the five-year average growth pace.

Reflecting on the results, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “April showed us that demand for air travel remains at very strong levels.

“Nevertheless there are indications that passengers are avoiding routes where the large PED ban is in place. As the US Department of Homeland Security considers expanding the ban, the need to find alternative measures to keep flying secure is critical.

“If the ban were extended to Europe-to-US flights, for example, we estimate a $1.4 billion hit on productivity.

“And an IATA-commissioned survey of business travelers indicated that 15% would seek to reduce their travel in the face of a ban.”

The strong overall performance is supported by a pick-up in global economic activity and lower airfares.

IATA estimates that falling airfares accounted for around half the demand growth in April

After adjusting for inflation, the price of air travel in the first quarter was around 10% lower than in the year-ago period. IATA estimates that falling airfares accounted for around half the demand growth in April.

Global air freight demand, meanwhile, rose 8.5% compared with the year earlier period. While this was down from the 13.4% year-on-year growth recorded in March 2017, it is well above the average annual growth rate of 3.5% over the past five years.

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