By Andy Sambidge
Regional airlines outperform rivals as monthly freighter growth is nearly three times the global average
Middle Eastern carriers outperformed their global rivals in January, posting 9.2 percent growth in air freight demand, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said the hub strategies of the leading airlines in the region are proving successful as network and capacity expansions help satisfy demand on international routes and serve inward trade to Middle Eastern economies. Capacity jumped 18.1 percent.
Globally, IATA said air freight markets showed a 3.2 percent expansion in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) in January compared to the same month last year. The growth is slower than the average of 4.5 percent recorded for 2014.
There was much regional variation in the January performance. Asia-Pacific, African and Middle Eastern airlines expanded strongly, but airlines in Europe and North and Latin America all reported demand contractions.
IATA said business confidence, which has been declining since mid-2014, could negatively impact demand for air cargo in the coming months.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "January was a disappointing start to the year for air cargo. And it is difficult to be too optimistic about the rest of the year given the economic headwinds in Europe and growing concerns over the Chinese economy. Add to that the continuing trends of on-shoring production and trade protectionism and 2015 is shaping up to be another tough year for air cargo."