Air cargo volumes carried by Middle East-based airlines contracted by 1.6 percent in February compared to the same month last year, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Capacity increased by 3.1 percent, IATA said, adding that a clear downward trend in seasonally-adjusted international air cargo demand is now evident with weakening trade to and from North America contributing to the decrease.
Globally, IATA said that air freight demand decreased 4.7 percent in February, compared to the same period in 2018. This was the fourth consecutive month of negative year-on-year growth and the worst performance in the last three years.
Freight capacity rose by 2.7 percent year-on-year in February, the 12th month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand growth.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Cargo is in the doldrums with smaller volumes being shipped over the last four months than a year ago. And with order books weakening, consumer confidence deteriorating and trade tensions hanging over the industry, it is difficult to see an early turnaround.
"The industry is adapting to new markets for e-commerce and special cargo shipments. But the bigger challenge is trade is slowing. Governments need to realize the damage being done by protectionist measures. Nobody wins a trade war. We all do better when borders are open to people and to trade.”
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