MIAMI — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced full-year global passenger traffic results for 2016, showing a 6.3 percent increase in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) compared to 2015.

The Middle East tops again the regional list with an 11.6 percent increase in RPKs. Asia Pacific ranks in the second place on an 11.2 percent lift, and Europe is third with a 10.7 percent increase.

Capacity rose at 6,2 percent, with the Middle East increasing capacity by 13.5 percent in available seat kilometers (ASK), followed by Asia Pacific with 8.1 percent and Africa in the third place on 6.3 percent.

North American carriers saw demand rise 2.6% in 2016. Most of the growth occurred in the second quarter, and traffic has been strongest on Pacific routes. The North Atlantic, by contrast, has been flat. Capacity rose 3.3%, reducing the load factor by 0.5 percentage points to 81.3%.

Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 7.4% in 2016. Capacity rose 4.8% and load factor strengthened by 1.9 percentage points to 81.3%. International traffic from Latin America remains very healthy despite some economic and political uncertainty in Brazil, the region’s largest market.

“Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes. And a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible. As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination. Demand for air travel is still expanding,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet [the] demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don’t choke growth,” de Juniac said.