Dubai International Airport shifted the fifth largest amount of cargo in the world in June as the Middle East air cargo market continued to power ahead in the face of a global slump.
According to figures released by trade body Airports Council International (ACI), 202,080 tonnes of cargo passed through Dubai's main airport in June, an increase of 3.6 per cent on the same month last year.
At Abu Dhabi International Airport cargo levels soared by 30.3 per cent - the highest increase in the world for the period - to 62,070 tonnes, ACI reported, pushing the airport to number 26 on the list.
Doha International Airport also reported significant growth. The airport which is due to be replaced by the delayed Hamad International Airport, came 24th on the ACI list of the top cargo airports with 73,660 tonnes passing through its doors, a 9.71 per cent increase on June 2012.
The positive Middle Eastern growth figures come in the face of lacklustre worldwide cargo growth figures.
On average cargo levels at the world's top 50 cargo airports fell by 1.1 per cent for June compared with June 2012, ACI reported as the global economy continued to stagnate.
ACI, which has 580 member airport authorities operating over 1,650 airports in 179 countries, reported that the Memphis International Airport, the home of FedEx Express super hub came out as the world's busiest cargo airport, handling 341,840 tonnes of cargo in June, an increase of 0.9 per cent on last year.
It was followed by the airport of Hong Kong and Shanghai's Pudong. The former reported growth of 1 per cent handling 337,000 tonnes, the later reporting a slump of 4.1 per cent in cargo volumes during the period to 233,270 tonnes. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska came fourth on the ACI study.
"With the euro-area recession and overall sluggish consumer spending across European and North American economies, the loss of momentum in the demand for air transport is inevitable in these regions," said the ACI World's Economics Director Rafael Echevarne. "On the other hand, emerging markets remain poised for a continued expansion as they now set the pace for growth in demand for travel as a whole."
The figures mirror those from International Air Transport Association (Iata), which reported a 12.7 per cent year-on-year increase in cargo volumes for Middle Eastern airlines in June compared with the previous year while globally it reported that freight demand for the month grew by just 1.2 per cent.
"While the rest of the world is showing very little growth in terms of cargo volumes, we are seeing consistent growth from the Middle East," said Chris Goater, an Iata spokesman. "Middle Eastern airlines are creating new business opening new routes to Africa and Asia Pacific. Also Dubai is performing particularly well at the moment because it has had particular success integrating its airport and port facilities and re-exporting goods."