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Sat 15 Apr 2017 04:57 PM

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MidEast airlines sees cargo growth slip as expansion slows

New IATA data shows that air freight growth in February falls well below the global average

MidEast airlines sees cargo growth slip as expansion slows
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Middle Eastern airlines saw their year-on-year freight volumes increase by 3.4 percent (or about 7 percent adjusting for the leap year) in February, well below the global average, according to new data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA said in a statement that air cargo capacity decreased 1.7 percent for the month, adding that seasonally adjusted freight volumes continue to trend upwards and demand remains strong between the Middle East and Europe.

Despite this, it added that growth has eased from the double-digit rates which were the norm over the past 10 years.

This corresponds with a slowdown in network expansion by the region’s major carriers, IATA said.

The February figures reflect a decline from the previous month when Middle Eastern carriers reported an 8.4 percent rise in air freight.

Last year, the annual increase in demand of 6.9 percent was the region’s slowest pace of growth since 2009 and well below the 12 percent average annual rate seen over the past decade.

Globally, IATA said air freight markets showed an 8.4 percent increase in demand measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) compared to the same period last year.

After adjusting for the impact of the leap year in 2016, demand increased by 12 percent - almost four times better than the five-year average rate of 3 percent.

The continued growth of air freight demand in 2017 is consistent with an uptick in world trade which corresponds with new global export orders remaining at elevated levels in March, IATA said.

"February further added to the cautious optimism building in air cargo markets. While there are signs of stronger world trade, concerns over the current protectionist rhetoric are still very real," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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