Air cargo decline in Middle East almost double that of global trend

Region’s air freight volumes fall 6% year-on-year as world demand is set for weakest annual outcome since the global financial crisis
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Air cargo, Cargo, Air freight, Iata

Air freight volumes in the Middle East declined sharply in October compared to the same month last year as the global air cargo industry continues to feel a squeeze.

That’s according to the new data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showing that demand in the Middle East, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased 6% year-on-year in October. Globally, demand fell 3.5%.

Latin American and European carriers experienced a more moderate decline than the Middle East and Asia. Africa was the only region to record growth in air freight demand compared to October last year. 

Capacity in the Middle East increased by 0.9%. Against a backdrop of operational and geopolitical challenges facing some of the region’s key airlines, seasonally adjusted freight volumes in the region have resumed a modest upwards trend which is a positive development for the region’s carriers.

IATA’s results mark a weak start to the traditional peak season for air cargo and the twelfth consecutive month of year-on-year declines in freight volumes in the global industry.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 2.2% year-on-year in October 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for the 18th consecutive month. 

Over the past year, air cargo has suffered from the effects of the trade war between the US and China, the deterioration in global trade, and a broad-based slowing in economic growth. 

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's CEO, said: “Air cargo’s peak season is off to a disappointing start, with demand down 3.5% in October.

“Demand is set to decline in 2019 overall - the weakest annual outcome since the global financial crisis. It has been a very tough year for the air cargo industry.”

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