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Global air cargo revenues are expected to rise above USD$70 billion for the first time, according to a GulfNews report citing the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

World trade in goods and air freight stopped growing in mid-2010 following the pre-recession surge, the agency said in its Cargo E-chartbook for the second quarter.

However, world trade growth then accelerated to an annualised pace of over 10% in the fourth quarter and the first. Emerging markets will continue to generate the strongest growth with US growth being supportive.

IATA also revealed that the final demand from consumers — ultimately the key driver of air freight — remains positive. The capital and consumer goods being shipped should also lead to a further rise in air freight.

Despite a reduction in the number of freighter aircraft, the cargo carried by freighters rose further above pre-recession levels than that carried in the bellies of passenger aircraft. At the peak in 2010, freighters carried 10% more cargo than pre-recession peak levels. Deliveries of jets and turboprops are back above 100 aircraft a month.

The Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast (WACF) revealed that air cargo moving into, within and out of the Middle East is estimated to have accounted for 7.7% of the world’s tonnage and for 6.9% of the world’s revenue ton-kilometres during 2009.

The projected annual growth rate for the next 20 years is estimated at around 4%. The four largest economies in the region commanded 70% of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009. Not only have the oil exporters of the region benefited from the oil boom, but nearly all the other countries have as well.

The Middle East is starting to diversify beyond the oil industry to industrial and business development. This expansion will lead to growing air cargo flows, the IATA forecast.

Many goods flowing between Africa and Asia and between Europe and Asia pass through the Middle East with Dubai handling approximately 70% of the air cargo traffic for the Middle East. Currently, Europe is the Middle East’s largest trading partner. Air cargo growth between the Middle East and Europe has been strong since 1999, with the 7.8% annual growth of the smaller westbound market outpacing that of the eastbound market at 5.6%.

Trade with Europe accounted for 4% of the Middle East’s international air cargo market. Overall air cargo between the Middle East and Europe is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 6% from 2009 to 2029.

The annual rate of growth in traffic from Europe to the Middle East for the next 20 years is expected to be around 5.3%

The average annual growth in air exports from the Middle East to Europe has been 7.8% for 1999 to 2009. – Source: Gulf News

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