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Mideast freightliners top global growth

Geneva, May 5, 2014

Middle Eastern carriers recorded a global high of 13.2 per cent year-on-year rise in FTK (freight tonne kilometre) volumes during March, with the strong performance coming on the back of growth in both developed and emerging markets, said a report released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

Carriers in the region are expanding their networks and services, broadening the range of goods they transport, added the Iata report showing air freight markets in March.

Capacity grew just 4.7 per cent, taking the load factor to nearly 50 per cent among the Middle Eastern carriers.

African airlines expanded 5.9 per cent compared to March 2013. Growth in the region remains volatile, but the average for the first quarter was an expansion of 1.5 per cent. Growth has been affected by a slowdown in the South African economy. Capacity grew broadly in line with demand, at 5.5 per cent.

Globally, air freight markets in March were up 5.9 per cent compared to a year ago and capacity grew 3.4 per cent, the report said.

While this marks a significant improvement in volumes compared to March 2013, much of the growth took place in the final quarter of 2013 (over and above the usual year-end volume growth). Since the beginning of the year, air cargo volumes have been basically flat. This plateau in volumes is consistent with the recent pause in improvements to business confidence and world trade.

Business conditions in the US and Europe, however, provide a reason to be cautiously optimistic for a resumption of growth in the months ahead. Rising export orders, in particular, are expected to give positive momentum to US and European markets. But this is balanced against the impact of a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing which is now into its fourth month. This has already impacted exports from emerging Asian countries, which contracted in February, the Iata report 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,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s director general and CEO.

“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. Modernizing 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.”

Asia-Pacific carriers grew 6.9 per cent compared to a year ago. Some of the March growth will reflect a resumption of business activity after the break for the Lunar New Year. European airlines expanded by 5.1 per cent compared to March 2013, while North American carriers grew 1.9 per cent year-on-year with capacity declining by 0.3 per cent.

Latin American air freight volumes were flat. Trade in the region deteriorated in early 2014, which could explain the slowdown. Capacity rose by 2.3 per cent, weakening the load factor. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Iata | air freight | Middle East carriers |

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