The demand for air travel to and from the Middle East is growing at a faster rate than in any other global region, new figures show.
According to research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Middle Eastern carriers saw passenger demand grow by around 18 per cent last year compared to an average 8.2 per cent international growth rate, the Khaleej Times reported.
The IATA said such Middle Eastern growth came on the back of a 13.2 per cent capacity increase fuelled largely by aircraft deliveries to Gulf-based airlines.
Reporting the body's other findings for the region, the Khaleej Times said: "December demand was 14.1 per cent above previous year levels and 35 per cent higher than in December 2008, illustrating the structural shift that is taking place in the industry as a result of the region's expansion."
The news comes after Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, this week announced that it has strengthened its operations in Northern Europe by adding more flights to Austria and Germany.