Reversing downward trend, Middle East carriers set record freight growth
Middle East carriers, driven mainly by Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad, recorded the “fastest growth” in air freight in October, a trend International Air Transport Association expects to continue according to a report in Gulf Times.
Middle Eastern airlines recorded a rise in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) in October in line with the trend so far in 2013 (12.3%). This is the fastest rate of expansion among regions, Iata said.
“The trend is likely to continue with October data showing a record high rise in exports orders in the United Arab Emirates, which bodes well for continued growth in the region’s trade volumes,” the body said.
Air freight markets improved in October after a brief pause in September, Iata said yesterday. Global freight tonne kilometres were up 4.0% in October year-on-year, a rebound from the 0.3% contraction in September.
There was also a “solid” 1.3% rise in volumes in October compared to September, contributing to the marginally positive trend in air freight growth seen since Q2. October performance is consistent with an improving business environment.
Airlines in all regions except Africa saw a rise in air freight in October compared to a year ago. Asia Pacific carriers experienced a rise of 2.0% in FTKs. This is an important result given that airlines in this region carry the largest share of the global air freight market and have been seeing a string of declines throughout 2013.
In fact, the October rise is in contrast to the trend so far this year – a contraction of 1.6%.
Until this month, the region has not featured in the slow improvement in global air freight demand since Q2. While there were signs of easing downward pressure in the region over recent months, particularly with respect to the Chinese economy, there had been no improvement in FTK volumes until October.
One month of data is not basis enough to suggest a recovery in the trend, but developments in the region are broadly positive.
Manufacturing activity in China expanded at a 7-month-high rate in October, suggesting that Q4 economic growth could as least match the pick-up seen in Q3.
Moreover, while the government continues to steer the economy away from its reliance on exports toward consumption, export orders have seen some improvement over recent months. The region more broadly has also seen resurgence in trade growth momentum. Both export and import volumes rose strongly in emerging Asia in September, a turnaround from significant declines mid-year.
“This positive momentum could support further growth in air freight carried by Asia Pacific airlines,” Iata said.