Middle Eastern carriers saw air cargo volumes increase by more than 7 percent in February, according to latest figures published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Year-on-year freight volumes increased 7.4 percent in February and capacity increased 7.6 percent. Seasonally adjusted freight volumes continue to trend upwards despite slowing to an annualized rate of 4 percent since late 2017.
IATA said this largely reflects the weak conditions on the routes to and from Europe which have seen demand trend downwards at a double-digit rate over the past five months.
Globally, IATA said air freight markets showed a 6.8 percent increase in demand measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) compared to the same period last year.
Adjusting for the potential Lunar New Year distortions by combining growth in January and February, demand increased by 7.7 percent - the strongest start to a year since 2015.
Freight capacity grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in February. Demand growth outstripped capacity growth for the 19th month in a row, which is positive for airline yields and the industry's financial performance.
"Demand for air cargo continues to be strong, with 6.8 percent growth in February. The positive outlook for the rest of 2018, however, faces some potentially strong headwinds, including escalation of protectionist measures into a full-blown trade war. Prosperity grows when borders are open to people and to trade, and we are all held back when they are not," 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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