Cargo boom in the Middle East

Airfreight business in the Middle East is going to ‘go through the roof’ this year, said an industry analyst.

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By  Mark Foxwell Published  September 10, 2006

Airfreight business in the Middle East is going to ‘go through the roof’ this year as demand for time-sensitive, high value and high tech goods picks up in the region, said an industry analyst. Richard Pinkham, an analyst for the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said: “With an industry pegged on trade growth, prospects look brighter for the airfreight business as governments and private investors in the region are gearing up to enhance the flow of goods to the right markets and to attract more serious investments in a growing and dynamic market. In Dubai, the quest to maintain the emirate as a major hub in the region paved the way for further logistics development, especially through air access.” The Dubai government is placing large investments on both geographical ends of the emirate, laying out the platform for logistics providers. Meanwhile, major freight players entering the market keep upgrading packages, including end-to-end supply chain solutions, in a bid to consolidate the services for the highly demanding customer-centric markets. Airfreight performance at the beginning of 2006 showed less turbulence compared to 2005. According to the International Air Transport Association, the January 2006 growth in international freight traffic is bolstered by renewed strength in the global economy, its recent recovery recorded at 5.2%. A definite strengthening trend following the disappointing 3.2% growth of 2005, January’s freight growth followed 5.5% growth in December. The projected growth for freighter fleets is 40%, with average aircraft payload going up to 18%, from 50.7 tonnes to 60 tonnes. Airfreight in terms of freight tonne kilometres (FTK) is estimated to grow at a 5.9% average annual rate over the 2004-2023 period. However, beyond the aircraft themselves, operators are expected to manage flying their aircraft more hours each year and with modest increase in load factor. These two elements are expected to contribute another 24% to the FTK growth.

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