Middle Eastern carriers saw air freight demand growth slump to 1.8 percent year-on-year in August, the slowest pace since July 2009, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Capacity increased by 6.9 percent during the month, with the strong upward trend seen in Middle Eastern traffic over the past year or so coming to a halt, IAT said in a statement.
In seasonally-adjusted terms, volumes in July were slightly below those seen in January, with the weakening performance partly attributable to slower growth between the Middle East and Asia.
This suggests that Middle Eastern carriers are facing stiff competition from European airlines on the Europe-Asia route, IATA added.
Globally, IATA said air freight markets in August showed that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), rose 3.9 percent year-on-year. Freight capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs) increased by 4.1 percent over the same period.
Load factors remained historically low, keeping yields under pressure. IATA said carriers in all regions except Latin America reported an increase in year-on-year demand in August.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "August numbers showed improvements in cargo demand. While this is good news, the underlying market conditions make it difficult to have long-term optimism. World trade volumes fell by 1.1 percent in July with no improvement on the horizon. And the current global political rhetoric in much of the world is more focused on protectionism than trade promotion.
"Economies need to grow out of the current economic doldrums. Governments should be focused on promoting trade, not raising protectionist barriers."
Source: Arabian Business