By Andy Sambidge
Latest figures from IATA show that regional airlines post nearly 13% growth year-on-year
Middle Eastern airlines led the world on cargo performance during June with double-digit growth, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.
Regional airlines saw a continued robust expansion of demand with freight volumes growing by 12.7 percent year-on-year.
"The consistent high growth in recent years, as the region’s carriers take advantage of the geographical position of the Middle East, has led to a substantial increase in its share of world air freight," IATA said in a statement.
Globally, June figures released by IATA showed a 1.2 percent year-on-year expansion in air freight demand.
Although weak, this is an improvement when compared to the 0.9 percent year-on-year demand growth recorded in May and the 0.1 percent growth realised over the first half of the year.
"While previously the global economic trend has been defined by robust emerging economies and stagnant growth in developed markets, the strongest improvements in business confidence are now occurring in some developed economies. Nevertheless, overall business confidence, which is a key indicator for air freight, continues to be weak," IATA said.
From May to June, global freight volumes increased by 0.8 percent. A quarter of that improvement was captured by European airlines which saw a 0.9 percent improvement in demand compared to May, and 2.6 percent up compared to June 2012.
In contrast, Asia-Pacific carriers (the biggest players in global air freight) and North American airlines recorded year-on-year declines of 1.8 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "It’s too early to tell if June was a positive turning point after 18 months of stagnation. Air freight volumes are at their highest since mid-2011, but that good news needs to be tempered with a dose of reality.
"The global economic environment remains weak, and the basis for the acceleration of air cargo growth in June appears to be fragile," he added.
Earlier this month IATA released the July edition of its Airline Business Confidence Index which showed nearly 58 percent of respondents expecting freight volumes to increase over the next year.