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Despite sluggish global market challenges, the UAE is forecast to lead the Middle East's passenger growth this year, with an annual increase of more than 6.3 percent according to estimates from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In 2016, Middle Eastern carriers reported the strongest annual traffic growth for the fifth year running.

Revenue passenger kilometres grew 11.8 percent, whilst a capacity growth of 13.7 percent exceeded demand.

Meanwhile average load factor fell 1.3 percentage points to 74.7 percent.

Airports across the region are expected to increase capacity 10.1 percent this year, with major carriers and hubs projected to host an additional 258 million passengers a year by 2035, as forecasted by IATA.