Gulf carriers continue to lead world on air cargo growth

IATA says region's airlines posted 9.3% freight expansion in May, almost double the global average

Middle East carriers continued to see the highest rate of air cargo growth in the world in May, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Freight volumes expanded 9.3 percent in May compared to a year ago, IATA said in a statement, adding that stronger expansion in developed markets is combining with rising links to emerging economies to fuel growth.

Capacity in the region grew 10.6 percent, the statement added.

Globally, IATA said air cargo growth accelerated by 4.7 percent compared to the same month last year. This was up from the 3.8 percent year-on-year growth recorded in April.

Cargo volumes, measured by freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) were up across all regions, but with significant differences in performance.

IATA said the acceleration of growth reflects improved economic conditions. There are indications that world trade and business confidence to be improving after weakness in the first quarter.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “After several months of wavering conditions in the demand environment, the outlook for global air cargo appears to be stabilising.

"That’s good news but the sector still faces an uphill battle to restore competitiveness and increase its share of trade growth. This will not be achieved with a business-as-usual mindset.

"The competitors to air cargo are innovating aggressively, cutting end-to-end shipping times and improving efficiency."

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