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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Freight volume growth slows for Middle East carriers in September

The year-on-year weak expansion is in line with softer global performance

Middle East airlines freight volumes increased 8.9 per cent year-on-year in September, lower than August’s 14.1 per cent growth rate, according to Iata. Paul Thomas / Bloomberg
Middle East airlines freight volumes increased 8.9 per cent year-on-year in September, lower than August’s 14.1 per cent growth rate, according to Iata. Paul Thomas / Bloomberg

The year-on-year freight volumes growth for the carriers in the Middle East weakened in September, in line with global freight figures, which were the slowest in five months, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said.

The freight volumes handled by the airlines in the region – home to some of the top global airlines including Emirates, the world’s biggest operator of A380 jumbo aircraft – increased 8.9 per cent year-on-year in September, slower than 14.1 per cent year-on-year growth recorded in August, the trade body said in a new report.

“A short-lived weak patch in demand in Q3 2016 has meant that recent months have produced volatility in the year-on-year growth rate [in the Middle East],” said Iata. “Strong competition, particularly on the Asia-Europe route, means that Middle East carriers are not seeing as healthy a pickup in the seasonally-adjusted traffic trend as carriers in other regions.”

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Regional freight capacity growth also slowed to 2.6 per cent in September, compared to a 2.8 per cent increase in Aug­ust.

Globally, freight volumes grew 9.2 per cent year-on-year, the slowest pace of expansion in five months, but higher than the five-year average growth rate of 4.4 per cent. In August, global freight volumes rose by 12.1 per cent year-on-year.

“Demand for air cargo grew by 9.2 per cent in September. While that’s slower than in previous months, it remains stronger than anything we have seen in recent memory,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s chief executive. “But there are signs that this demand spurt may have peaked. So it becomes even more important to reinforce the industry’s competitiveness by accelerating the modernization of its many antiquated processes.”

Iata’s 2017 air freight demand forecast of 7.5 per cent has been surpassed in the first nine months of the year, with year-to-date growth of 10.1 per cent, which indicates that air freight demand for 2017 appears to have “significant upside potential even if the peak of the economic cycle has passed.”

Global freight capacity increased by 3.9 per cent year-on-year in September, lower than demand growth, which is good news for industry load factors, yields, and financial performance, Iata said.