MidEast cargo growth more than double global average
By Andy Sambidge
Freight growth in the Middle East was more than double the global average in March as the region's carriers continued to post world-leading performance.
Latest figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Monday showed that Middle East-based airlines saw a 13.2 percent year-on-year rise in freight tonne kilometre (FTK) volumes.
It said in a statement: "This strong performance comes on the back of airlines taking advantage of growth in both developed and emerging markets. Carriers in the region are expanding their networks and services, broadening the range of goods they transport. Capacity grew just 4.7 percent, taking the load factor to nearly 50 percent."
Globally, IATA said air freight markets in March were up 5.9 percent compared to a year ago and capacity grew 3.4 percent.
While this marks a significant improvement in volumes compared to March 2013, much of the growth took place in the final quarter of 2013.
IATA said since the beginning of the year, air cargo volumes have been basically flat, adding that this plateau in volumes is consistent with the recent pause in improvements to business confidence and world trade.
It added that business conditions in the US and Europe, however, provide a reason to be cautiously optimistic for a resumption of growth in the months ahead.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Cargo markets had a boost in the last quarter of 2013, but have now levelled off. It is a competitive industry with growing capacity chasing weak demand.
"The business cycle will eventually swing upwards. But the air cargo industry also needs to improve its value proposition if it is to attract growth when markets improve. Modernising air cargo processes and infrastructure offers the potential to cut end-to-end shipping times by up to 48 hours. We cannot let market doldrums hold us back from this critical competitive gain.”