Middle East is leading in freight

Airlines in the Middle East are showing a strong freight demand despite bouts of turbulence over increasing jet fuel prices, according to new figures.

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By  Mark Foxwell Published  August 20, 2006

Airlines in the Middle East are showing a strong freight demand despite bouts of turbulence over increasing jet fuel prices, according to new figures. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released its international traffic data for May 2006, which showed that for the first five months of the year, Middle Eastern carriers led freight traffic growth at 19.6%. North America’s growth was 6.5%, Latin America had 5.% growth and Asia-Pacific showed 5.2% growth, with African and European carriers at 3.8% and 2.1% respectively. Overall there was a 5.1% growth for freight and 7% growth in passenger demand over the same period in 2005. Overall load factor for all airlines for May reached an average of 73.6%. The trade body said freight traffic remains on course to grow by at least double the 2005 rate, and IATA forecasts growth of 7% for 2006 as a whole. According to Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director-general and CEO: “Strong economies are supporting strong demand growth for both freight and passenger traffic. This positive demand environment is helping the global airline industry to offset some of the sharp increase in jet fuel prices. And it is helping airlines boost revenues by an average of 10% over the past three years,” he said in a statement. “Airlines continue to cut costs and improve efficiency but we must not let the strong revenue environment distract us from further change. “Although load factors are at historically high levels, we need to continue to manage capacity carefully to make sure that record aircraft orders do not become our Achilles heel,” Bisagnani added. According to Giovanni there is also a risk that high oil prices and rising interest rates in many major economies will trigger an economic slowdown later this year, removing the support provided by demand-led revenue growth. International freight traffic grew 5.1% year on year, in May, down from the 6.1% seen in April. A fall in freight traffic in Latin America - largely due to the problems and lower volumes at Brazilian carrier Varig - was the main factor behind the slowdown in the overall growth rate.

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