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Global air freight demand grows 3.8% in 2016

The global air freight market demand grew by 3.8% in 2016 compared to 2015, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

This was nearly double the industry’s average growth rate of 2% over the last five years, said a statement from Iata. Air freight capacity increased by 5.3% in 2016, it said.

Middle Eastern carriers’ freight volumes increased 11.2% year-on-year in December and capacity increased 5.9%. This contributed to an annual increase in demand of 6.9% in 2016 – the second fastest growth rate of all the regions.

However this was the region’s slowest pace of growth since 2009 and well below the 12% average annual rate seen over the past decade. The slowdown in growth is mainly due to weak freight volumes between the Middle East and Asia, and the Middle East and Europe.

Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO, Iata, said: “In terms of demand, 2016 was a good year for air cargo. That was boosted by solid year-end performance. Looking ahead, strong export orders are good news.

“But there are headwinds. The most significant is stagnant world trade which also faces the risk of protectionist measures. Governments must not forget that trade is a powerful tool for growth and prosperity.

“The air cargo industry must also improve its competitiveness. We know that the way forward is defined by digital processes which will drive efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. We must use the momentum of renewed demand growth to drive the important innovations of the e-cargo vision.”

All regions, with the exception of Latin America, experienced positive freight growth in 2016, the report further added. Asia-Pacific carriers saw demand in freight volumes grow 9.8% in December 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 and capacity grew by 5.7%.

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