The Middle East had a strong year in 2015

The Middle East had a strong year in 2015

Mideast air freight volumes up 11.3 pc

Economic growth and network expansions helped boost freight volumes in the region

01 March 2016

Middle East air cargo traffic was strong in 2015, expanding 11.3 per cent, while in the global arena volumes grew at just 2.2 per cent, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported.

Middle Eastern carriers had a freight load factor (FLF) of 42.8 per cent for 2015. December traffic volumes grew 4 per cent over the same month in 2014.

“The region enjoyed a strong year as network expansion into emerging markets was supported by economic growth in local economies. Political instability and the fall in the oil price may impact on some economies in the region but growth as a whole remains robust enough to support further expansion in 2016,” IATA said in its analysis.

The global increase in cargo volumes of 2.2 per cent was slower than the 5 per cent growth achieved in 2014, the weakness reflecting sluggish trade growth in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

“After a strong start, air freight volumes began a decline that continued through most of 2015, until some improvements to world trade drove a modest pick-up late in the year,” IATA stated. “Cargo in Asia-Pacific, accounting for around 39 per cent of freight traffic, expanded by a moderate 2.3 per cent. The key markets of Europe and North America, which between them comprise around 43 per cent of total cargo traffic, were basically flat in 2015. Latin America suffered a steep decline of 6 per cent. Africa saw modest growth of 1.2 per cent.

Globally, the FLF was at times the lowest for some years, falling to an average 44.1 per cent compared to 45.7 per cent in 2014, driven down by weak demand and capacity expansion.

“2015 was another very difficult year for air cargo. Growth has slowed and revenue is falling. In 2011 air cargo revenue peaked at $67 billion. In 2016 we are not expecting revenue to exceed $51 billion,” commented Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. “Efficiency gains are critical as the sector adjusts to shortening global supply chains and evermore competitive market conditions. We have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of cargo growing in line with general rates of economic expansion. The industry is moving forward with an e-freight transformation that will modernise processes and improve the value proposition. The faster the industry can make that happen, the better,” Tyler added.

More Stories