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November 2017 IATA State of the Region: Africa & Middle East

Africa & Middle East November 2017 State of the Region


  • Business confidence in South Africa recovered a little ground this month, but remains at a level typically associated with economic slowdown. Sentiment in the Middle East was broadly unchanged this month.
  • On a trade-weighted basis, the US$ reversed some of its recent decline in Oct, rising by 1.8%. Regional currency movements were generally muted, with a further 4.6% fall in the value of the ZAR vs the US$ the exception.
  • Brent crude oil prices moved above US$60/bbl in Oct to average $57.30 for the month. Jet fuel retraced some of its Sep surge, falling $6 to average $69.60 & narrowing the crack spread substantially. Tensions between Saudi Arabia & Iran continue to weigh on the market.


  • Industry-wide RPKs grew by a solid 5.7%yoy in Sep, easing somewhat from the pace of recent months but adversely impacted by hurricane-related disruption in a number of markets, notably the US. We would expect this impact to be temporary & unwound next month.
  • At the regional level, RPK growth moderated in Sep, to 3.5%yoy for the ME carriers & a modest 2.8%yoy for the African carriers. Both remain solidly below the overall industry outcome again this month.
  • The moderation in aggregate growth this month was widespread across the main international markets for the region’s carriers; the smaller Africa-Asia market being the exception, where growth lifted to 3.2%yoy.
  • Europe is the strongest market (for both Middle East & African carriers) with RPKs up a robust 6.4%yoy. In contrast, pax volumes between ME-Africa and ME-Nth America have both fallen in yoy terms, down 1.3% & a substantial 6.3%, respectively.


  • A mixed performance in load factors this month, with the PLF falling but a gain for the FLF at both the industrywide level and for the region’s carriers.
  • The ME PLF dropped sharply to 74.0%, matching that of the African carriers, with both well down on the industry average of 81.6%.
  • The ME FLF is 44.7%, down a little on the industry figure of 45.5%; both are substantially higher than the 24.2% outcome for the African carriers. Download the November 2017 IATA State of the Region: Africa & Middle East full document here.

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