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Wed 3 Feb 2016 04:02 PM

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Middle East air cargo growth slows to 4% in December

New IATA figures reveal slowdown at end of 2015 as region posts full-year growth of more than 11%

Middle East air cargo growth slows to 4% in December
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Air freight growth in the Middle East slowed significantly during December but was still the best performing region in the world, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Cargo business lifted by Middle Eastern carriers grew by four percent in December and for 2015 in total the region expanded 11.3 percent compared to 2014, IATA said in a statement, adding that freight load factor was 42.8 percent for the year.

It added: "The region enjoyed a strong year as network expansion into emerging markets was supported by economic growth in local economies. Political instability and the fall in the oil price may impact on some economies in the region but growth as a whole remains robust enough to support further expansion in 2016."

Globally, IATA said cargo volumes measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) expanded 2.2 percent in 2015 compared to 2014.

This was a slower pace of growth than the five percent growth recorded in 2014. The weakness reflects sluggish trade growth in Europe and Asia-Pacific, IATA said.

After a strong start, air freight volumes began a decline that continued through most of 2015, until some improvements to world trade drove a modest pick-up late in the year.

Cargo in Asia-Pacific, accounting for around 39 percent of freight traffic, expanded by a moderate 2.3 percent while the key markets of Europe and North America, which between them comprise around 43 percent of total cargo traffic, were basically flat in 2015.

"2015 was another very difficult year for air cargo. Growth has slowed and revenue is falling. In 2011 air cargo revenue peaked at $67 billion. In 2016 we are not expecting revenue to exceed $51 billion," said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.

"We have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of cargo growing in line with general rates of economic expansion. The industry is moving forward with an e-freight transformation that will modernise processes and improve the value proposition. The faster the industry can make that happen, the better," he added.

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