Middle Eastern carriers posted a 2.2 percent increase in freight volumes in August compared to the same period last year, according to new data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The aviation authority said in a statement that this was a significant deceleration in demand over the 5.4 percent recorded the previous month.
It added that the decrease mainly reflects developments from a year ago rather than a substantive change in the near-term trend.
International cargo demand is trending upwards at an annualised rate of 6 percent in the region supported by a pick-up in trade to/from Europe and Asia, IATA said, adding that capacity increased 7.9 percent year-on-year.
Globally, IATA said growth in air freight markets rose 2.3 percent in August, unchanged from the previous month but was less than half the five-year average growth rate of 5.1 percent.
Freight capacity grew by 4.5 percent year-on-year in August 2018, the sixth month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand growth.
“Buoyant consumer confidence, the growth of international e-commerce and the broad-based global economic upturn are behind the growth. But there are downside risks. Order books are weakening and supply delivery times are lengthening. And the growing trade tensions are a specter over the industry,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
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