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Sat 12 Dec 2015 11:28 AM

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MidEast carriers see cargo demand rise despite economic slowdown

Airlines in region see 8.3% increase in freight demand while passenger traffic demand also rises by 10.3% in October

MidEast carriers see cargo demand rise despite economic slowdown
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Middle Eastern carriers saw cargo demand expand by 8.3 percent in October despite a slowdown in the region's key economies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

The aviation authority said capacity rose 11.6 percent during the same period as recent air cargo growth in the region continues to trend well below the rates seen for the first half of the year.

Growth in the Middle East, although robust, was some 4.3 percent down on the average performance for the year to date, IATA added in a statement.  

"Saudi Arabia and the UAE, among others in the region, have seen slowdowns in non-oil sectors, but growth rates remain robust enough to sustain solid demand for air cargo," IATA said.

Globally, IATA said that air cargo volumes measured by freight tonne kilometres rose just 0.5 percent in October compared to a year ago. Year-over-year expansion fell back from September’s faster growth rate, and total cargo volumes in October stand 1.1 percent lower than the peak of the uptrend at the end of 2014.

European carriers have driven recent improvements in air cargo growth, but they ran out of steam in October with a rise of just 0.2 percent while markets in North American, Latin America and Africa all reported declines.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "The outlook for air cargo continues to be very difficult. While there was some optimism from third quarter growth it has all but disappeared as the industry basically flat-lined.

"Cargo capacity has grown largely in lock-step with the continued robust demand for passenger travel. As a result, freight load factors have sunk to the 44 percent range — a level not seen since 2009. Early signs of improvement in export orders may bode well for trade and air cargo but this is unlikely to prevent air cargo finishing 2015 on a low note."

Separately, IATA said Middle East carriers posted a 10.3 percent passenger traffic increase in October. Capacity rose 12.7 percent, however, which caused load factor to slide 1.5 percent to 72.5 percent.

It said the Middle East was the only region to see a decline in load factor for the month.

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