Global passenger demand for flights slipped in September due to the dual impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Demand rose by 5.7% year-on-year, the slowest increase since February, new Iata data shows.

“Hurricanes Irma and Maria weighed heavily on the results, although growth already had been tapering,” Iata said.

“In addition to the impacts of hurricanes Irma and Maria, anecdotal evidence continues to suggest that inbound traffic to the US is being deterred by additional security measures now involved in traveling to the country.

“US domestic traffic fell 1.2%, reflecting the hurricane impacts. With operations at affected major airports having returned to normal, it appears the disruption will be short-lived.”

Overall capacity climbed 5.3% and the load factor edged up 0.3 percentage points to 81.6%, a record for the month of September.

Iata director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said: “September’s growth in passenger demand was healthy, notwithstanding the heavy impacts of extreme weather events on the Americas.

“Global economic conditions support rising passenger demand, but with higher cost inputs, the demand stimulation from lower fares has waned, suggesting a moderating trend in traffic growth.”

De Juniac expressed the aviation industry’s solidarity with the victims of the hurricanes, and emphasised the importance of aviation’s ability to deliver aid and support.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the recent extreme weather events, which uprooted lives and communities and dealt heavy blows to local economies in the affected areas,” he said.

“It is at times like these that we truly see the vital role that aviation plays in disaster relief, bringing in much needed first responders and aid workers, as well as supplies, food and medicines to those in need.”