Middle East carriers had by far the strongest year-over-year traffic growth in October at 14 percent, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).  Capacity kept pace, however, rising 13.9 percent, and load factor stayed flat compared to the year-ago period at 75.5 percent, IATA said in a statement. It said airlines in the region have benefited from strong demand for business-related premium travel, particularly to developing markets such as Africa. “Solid performance of key economies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates  has also supported strong expansion in business and leisure travel,” it added. Globally, IATA said total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.6 percent compared to October 2012, an improvement over the September increase of 5.2 percent. A capacity increase of 6.5 percent meant that load factor was virtually flat at 78.9 percent. “October traffic results reinforce expectations for a strong fourth quarter traffic performance in line with rising business confidence and better economic performance in the major advanced economies,” said Tony Tyler. In 2013, the airline industry will carry more than 3 billion passengers in a year for the first time,  he added.