The rate of air cargo growth for Middle East carriers slowed to a seven-year low in 2016, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday.
Regional freight volumes increased 11.2 percent year-on-year in December and capacity increased 5.9 percent, IATA said in a statement.
It added that this contributed to an annual increase in demand of 6.9 percent in 2016 – the second fastest growth rate of all the regions.
However this was the region’s slowest pace of growth since 2009 and well below the 12 percent average annual rate seen over the past decade.
IATA said the slowdown in growth was mainly due to weak freight volumes between the Middle East and Asia, and the Middle East and Europe.
Globally, IATA said air freight demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) grew by 3.8 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. This was nearly double the industry’s average growth rate of 2 percent over the last five years. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), increased by 5.3 percent in 2016.
All regions, with the exception of Latin America, experienced positive freight growth in 2016. Carriers in Europe accounted for almost half of the total annual increase in demand, IATA said.
"In terms of demand, 2016 was a good year for air cargo. That was boosted by solid year-end performance. Looking ahead, strong export orders are good news. But there are headwinds. The most significant is stagnant world trade which also faces the risk of protectionist measures," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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