Middle East air cargo demand lowest since 2008 crash
Data for global air freight markets in August 2016 shows demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), rose 3.9 percent year-on-year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Freight capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs) increased by 4.1 percent over the same period.
Industry conditions have improved since the particularly soft patch at the start of the year. Carriers in all regions except Latin America reported an increase in year-on-year demand in August.
However, regional results varied considerably. For the third time in four months airlines based in Europe posted the highest collective annual growth of all regions, while airlines in the Middle East experienced their slowest growth in more than seven years.
"August numbers showed improvements in cargo demand. While this is good news, the underlying market conditions make it difficult to have long-term optimism. World trade volumes fell by 1.1 percent in July with no improvement on the horizon. And the current global political rhetoric in much of the world is more focused on protectionism than trade promotion. Economies need to grow out of the current economic doldrums. Governments should be focused on promoting trade, not raising protectionist barriers," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Middle Eastern carriers saw air freight demand slump to 1.8 percent year-on-year in August 2016–the slowest pace since July 2009.
Capacity increased by 6.9 percent. The strong upward trend seen in Middle Eastern traffic over the past year or so has halted. In seasonally-adjusted terms, volumes in July 2016 were slightly below those seen in January 2016.
The weakening performance is partly attributable to slower growth between the Middle East and Asia. This suggests that Middle Eastern carriers are facing stiff competition from European airlines on the Europe-Asia route.