Passenger loads within the Arab world are holding up reasonably well in the wake of the New York and Washington attacks. The biggest impact is being felt by tourist destinations, such as Jordan, already reeling from the effects of a year of Israeli-Palestinian violence during which Royal Jordanian experienced 70,000 cancellations.

The airline's four-times-weekly service from Amman to Baghdad has been an early casualty of the US terror attacks with insurance companies withdrawing cover, fearing that Iraq might become a target for US retaliation. Jordanian is continuing to talk to insurers to see if a way can be found to acquire coverage on this route. The Jordanian Government, in line with others in the Arab world, has provided $2 billion cover to allow the national airline to maintain flights to Europe and the USA. There has also been a big rise in cancellations to Cairo, and Egypt air has cancelled flights to Pakistan and Yemen until further notice.

In the Gulf region, Dubai has suffered a drop in traffic, forcing Emirates to trim services to Bahrain, Birmingham, Dammam, Doha, Dusseldorf, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Karachi, London Heathrow, Muscat, and elsewhere in Europe until at least 10 October.

Passenger traffic at Bahrain has been less dramatically affected, but Gulf Air is planning 15% cuts to "reduce costs in line with other international airlines". In addition, the company says it is "encouraging more employees to take advantage of the early retirement package".

Saudi Arabian Airlines says that while it has been affected by the general downturn, it "has not been hit as hard as some other international airlines" and has no plans to lay off staff - the airline has just resumed its four-times-weekly services to New York and Washington DC, which were suspended after the attacks.

In the eastern Mediterranean, the crisis looks set to trigger a drop in the number of holiday flights in the weeks ahead. Cyprus Airways is considering deferring two new Airbus A319s due for delivery next year, and says it might have to lay off staff in the event of a war.

Source: Flight International