Regional airlines lead the world in growth of freight tonne kilometres, says IATA
Middle East airlines led the world on cargo growth in July, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Monday.
The region's carriers posted a 14.4 percent rise in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) compared to July 2012, IATA said in a statement.
It added that capacity climbed 11.1 percent while year-to-date demand was up 11.7 percent.
The Middle East was one of just two regions in which airlines saw demand growth exceed capacity growth.
"Part of the rise in year-on-year growth rates in July is owing to the timing of Ramadan, which took place mostly in July 2013, while in 2012, most of the holiday occurred in August," IATA said.
"Ramadan typically gives a boost to air freight demand for Middle Eastern carriers, as air transport of perishable foods and gift parcels increases to/from the region," it added.
Globally, IATA announced that FTKs were up 1.2 percent in July year-on-year, slightly better than the 0.9 percent year-on-year increase recorded in June, as growth in Europe and the Middle East offset weakness in Asia.
As a result of the July performance, air freight volumes are at their highest level since mid-2011.
Capacity increased 3.4 percent versus July 2012, pushing load factor down to 43.3 percent. However, load factors have stabilised compared to earlier in 2013.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “The growth is encouraging, particularly in Europe. However, it is premature to say that air cargo may be emerging from the doldrums of the past 18 months.
"The weakness in Asia-Pacific freight markets and the deteriorating political situation in parts of the Middle East give ample reason for continued caution,” he added.