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MidEast air cargo growth slows but still best in world

IATA makes claim during its AGM in Doha.
NEWS, Aviation

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 Middle East airlines saw a slowdown in cargo growth last month but the region's carriers still outperformed their global rivals, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The Middle East reported that air cargo demand expanded by 8.7 percent compared to the previous April.

This was slightly slower growth compared to previous months, but still easily the strongest growth of any region in the world, IATA said in a statement.

It said that carriers are benefiting from the upswing in developed economies, and increased volumes from emerging markets in Asia and Africa, adding that capacity was up 8.1 percent.

Globally, IATA said air freight markets in April (measured in freight tonne kilometres or FTKs) was 3.2 percent above previous year levels.

"Demand has not, however, grown in recent months. Traffic levels in April were slightly below those of January and 1.1 percent lower than what was recorded in March," IATA said.

Latest data shows that prior improvements in the demand environment are experiencing some reversal. Largely as a result of further slowdown in the emerging markets, mostly China, indicators of business confidence slipped further in April.

"Levels still point toward growth, but at the weakest pace for the past five months. World trade growth has also slowed over recent months. However, momentum in advanced economies remains intact, and export orders still point to expansion. This suggests that current sluggishness in the demand drivers is likely temporary," IATA added.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Trading conditions for air freight are difficult. Overall, business activity and trade have shifted down a gear after a strong end to 2013. And this is taking its toll on growth in the air cargo sector. Developed economies are still maintaining post-recession momentum and the expectation is for a stronger finish to the year."

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