Freight volumes of Middle East carriers increased by more than 16 percent in March on a year-on-year basis, according to new figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said that while capacity increased 2.7 percent, international freight volumes increased 16.4 percent year-on-year in March – the fastest pace since June 2015.
Seasonally-adjusted freight volumes maintained their upward trend as the year-on-year growth rate recovered after having moderated in late-2015, it added in a statement.
IATA said demand remains strong between the Middle East and Europe but traffic to Asia has weakened.
Globally, IATA said air freight markets showed a 14 percent expansion measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) compared to the same period last year.
This was the fastest pace of growth recorded since October 2010. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), grew by 4.2 percent year-on-year in March.
Freight demand in Q1 increased by nearly 11 percent while capacity increased by 3.7 percent over the same period.
The strengthening of air freight demand in March is consistent with an uptick in world trade and a six-year high in new export orders. An increase in the shipment of silicon materials typically used in high-value consumer electronics shipped by air, is also likely underpinning a portion of the strong performance, IATA said.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “March capped a robust first quarter with the strongest year-on-year air freight growth in six-and-a-half years. Optimism is returning to the industry as the business stabilises after many years in the doldrums.
“There is, however, still much lost ground to recover while facing the dual headwinds of rising fuel and labour costs. It remains critical to use the improvement in the industry’s fortunes as an opportunity to enhance the value offering by implementing modern customer-centric initiatives that streamline processes and reduce costs,” he said.