Middle East sees fall in figures after trade war storm
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased by 4.5% in September 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.
This marks the eleventh consecutive month of year-on-year decline in freight volumes, the longest period since the global financial crisis in 2008.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 2.1% year-on-year in September 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for the 17th consecutive month.
Air cargo continues to suffer from the intensifying trade war between the US and China, and South Korea and Japan, the deterioration in global trade, and weakness in some of the key economic drivers.
Airlines in Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and the Middle East suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air freight volumes in September 2019, while Latin America carriers experienced a more moderate decline.
Africa was the only region to record growth in air freight demand compared to September last year.
Middle Eastern airlines
Middle East freight volumes decreased 8.0% in September 2019 compared to the year-ago period - the sharpest drop in freight demand of any region.
Capacity decreased by 0.4%. Escalating trade tensions and the slowing in global trade have affected the region's performance due to its strategic position as a global supply chain link.
Most key routes to and from the region have seen weak demand in the past few months. The large Europe to Middle East and Asia to Middle East routes were down 8% and 5% respectively in August (last data available) compared to a year ago.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, said: "The US-China trade war continues to take its toll on the air cargo industry. October's pause on tariff hikes between Washington and Beijing is good news.
“But trillions of dollars of trade is already affected, which helped fuel September's 4.5% year-on-year fall in demand. And we can expect the tough business environment for air cargo to continue."