Middle East Surging: Emirates tops international rankings while FedEx, UPS still busiest overall
Middle-East-based carriers were among the top gainers in the World Air Transport Statistics for 2012. Emirates SkyCargo made one of the most significant advances, rising to the top spot, past FedEx, in the regional category and achieving third overall, behind FedEx and UPS Airlines in total scheduled freight tonnes carried, according to the 57th edition of WATS, which is compiled by the International Air Transport Association.
Emirates is positioning for further growth with addition of 10 new destinations beginning last February and continuing through January 2014. Flights to Warsaw, Algiers and Haneda, Japan, were added during the first half of 2013. Flights to Tripoli were scheduled Sept. 1, and the airline will begin flying to Clark Air Base in the Philippines on Sept. 4. A Milan-to-New-York route will begin Oct. 1, flights to Conakry, Guinea on Oct. 27, Sialkot, Pakistan in November and Kiev in January 2014.
“The markets we are entering all have strong potential for cargo,” Prakash Nair, head of network cargo sales development for Emirates SkyCargo, says.
Nair believes the Middle East and Africa will continue to be big cargo business generators for Emirates.
“The Middle East cargo market is growing with ongoing investment and expansion in the region, which require materials for supporting logistics,” Nair says. “Expansion at airports in the region is also driving growth.”
Hotels in the region require fresh produce and flowers, and there is a thriving consumer society that demands luxury and fashion items and electronics, Nair says. Agricultural products are the main catalyst for growth in Africa, he says.
“Dubai is our hub, strategically located between East and West, and our worldwide network flies to more than 130 destinations in 36 countries across six continents, giving our customer global access for trade,” Nair says. “We have more than 200 wide-body aircraft and a freighter fleet of 10, which gives us the capacity and capability to move all types of cargo across the network.”
Emirates is also building the infrastructure for continued growth. Its new cargo terminal and supporting facilities at Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport is set to become the home of the carrier’s freighter operations beginning May 2014.
In addition to the cargo terminal, various facilities and infrastructure will be built, including 46 truck docks and 80 truck parking spaces. The first section will open next April with full completion scheduled for mid-September 2014.
Etihad Airways, which rose from 23rd to 21st on the total tonnage list, is another Middle East airline experiencing robust cargo growth. Tonnage continues to grow in 2013 with the airline up 23 percent for the first half of the year.
Saudi Arabian Airlines moved up to 23rd from last year’s 26th. The upward trend continues this year with 6 percent growth recorded for the first six months. During that period, Saudia Cargo moved 270,000 tonnes, breaking last year’s record of 250,000. Belly cargo grew by 29 percent, primarily attributable to the U.S. and the UK. During the first half of the year, the carrier increased its freighter capacity from Dhaka, Bangladesh and commenced B747 freighter flights in Mumbai and Kano, Nigeria. It also started operations with its first B747-8F in June, which is scheduled on Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-Hong-Kong-Riyadh-Frankfurt-Saudi-Arabia flight rotations.
Americas results mixed
FedEx and UPS Airlines continued their hold on the top two spots. Tonnage was up slightly for FedEx and down slightly for UPS. Delta Air Lines was the third ranking U.S.-based carrier and 22nd overall. IATA reports that North American airlines were down 1.6 percent overall for the first half of 2013.
Latin American airlines experienced a 3.7 percent growth in cargo volumes, one of the fastest growth rates. The top Latin America-based airline in IATA’s rankings for 2012 was LAN Airlines at the 14th spot, up from 15th in 2011.
Asia remains down