(Reuters) - Global demand for air travel finished 2016 on a high note, with double-digit growth in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe driving an industry-wide 8.8 percent year-on-year increase in December, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.


Full-year demand increased by 6.3 pct, helped by the combination of passengers adjusting to the uncertain environment and moderate pick-up in the global economic cycle, IATA said.


"Demand for air travel is still expanding. The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don’t choke growth," said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.


We must defend aviation's social and economic benefits from barriers to travel and protectionist agendas, he added.


(Reporting by Pawel Goraj; Editing by David Goodman)