Regional carriers lead industry growth

The Middle East is the bright spot in the world air cargo industry and European carriers are looking for a piece of the action.


Taken globally, the air cargo industry appears to be in low growth mode right now. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported a 4.9% year on year rise in international freight traffic in September.

Although up slightly from August's figure, the increase is still below the long-term industry average of 6.0% annual growth.

Break the figures down, however, and the results show that the Middle East is the bright spot in the world air cargo industry.

Middle Eastern carriers enjoyed 13.9% year on year growth in cargo traffic in September. For the year to date, the region’s carriers are enjoying 16.8% growth in cargo traffic.

Regional economic growth, which the IMF predicts will stay at 6-7%, investment in facilities and the region's status as a transit point are all helping to fuel this growth.

Whilst local players are well placed to grab the majority of this traffic, European carriers are increasingly looking for a share of the region's cargo business. As Air Cargo magazine discovered this month, British Airways, Cargolux, Lufthansa and other European operators are all investing in their regional offerings.

This all means that competition is intensifying and for the consumer this should mean good news. As European carriers vye to compete with local airlines for air freight traffc, the end result should be an improvement in services and standards.

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