Middle East air cargo volumes slump 6.2% in April

International Air Transport Association cites sharp downturn in key North America market for performance
Middle East air cargo volumes slump 6.2% in April
By Sam Bridge
Wed 29 May 2019 03:10 PM

Air cargo volumes carried by Middle East airlines decreased by 6.2 percent in April compared to the year-earlier period, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA said capacity in the region increased by 0.7 percent in April as air freight volumes continued their decline which has been since the fourth quarter of 2018.

Freight volumes to and from Europe and Asia Pacific are growing, but a double-digit decline for the key North America market highlights some of the issues facing the region’s carriers, IATA added. 

Globally, IATA said air cargo demand fell 4.7 percent in April compared to the same period in 2018. This continued the negative trend in year-on-year demand that began in January.

Freight capacity grew by 2.6 percent year-on-year in April and has now outpaced that of demand for the last 12 months. Air cargo volumes have been volatile in 2019, due to the timing of Chinese New Year and Easter, but the trend is clearly downwards, with volumes around 3 percent below the August 2018 peak.

Brexit-related trade uncertainty in Europe and trade tensions between the US and China, have contributed to declining new export orders, IATA noted.

“April saw a sharp decline in air cargo growth and the trend is clearly negative this year. Cost inputs are rising, trade tensions are affecting confidence, and global trade is weakening. Airlines are adjusting their capacity growth to try and fall into line with the dip in global trade since the end of 2018. It all adds up to a challenging year ahead for the cargo business. Governments should respond by easing trade barriers in order to drive economic activity,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO.

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