Yet another study predicts the continued surge of air cargo in the Middle East. Alpen Capital, a Dubai-based investment banking firm, issued a report in March predicting that cargo traffic, in terms of freight tonne kilometers, will grow in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.2 percent through 2032.
Alpen attributes the predicted growth to the region’s rising population with disposable income and favorable geographic location. Most of the Middle East’s airports and allied infrastructure are undergoing significant expansion to accommodate the growth in cargo and passenger traffic carried by the Gulf carriers.
Route expansion continues with Middle Eastern carriers, including Emirates, which plans to grow its European network with a new daily flight to Oslo starting Sept. 2.
“Norway’s resilient economy is built on strong foundations including its dynamic oil, gas, fishing, telecom and maritime sectors,” Tim Clark, Emirates president, says.
Norway is Europe’s largest oil producer, the world’s second largest natural gas exporter and is an important supplier of both oil and natural gas to other European countries. The country ranks fourth in natural gas production globally, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The country also is the world’s second largest seafood exporter, with more than 2.1 million tonnes of seafood shipped globally in 2013.
Emirates SkyCargo will offer 23 tonnes of cargo capacity between the two cities. Popular commodities are expected to include oil and gas equipment, maritime and ship spares, pharmaceuticals, seafood, chemicals, electronics, telecommunication equipment, machinery, dairy products and fruits and vegetables bound for markets such as Vietnam, China and Taiwan.
Also in March, Qatar Airways Cargo has announced it will begin scheduled dedicated freighter services to two new destinations, Hyderabad, India, and London Stansted, and that it will restart services to Zaragoza, Spain.
“Our goal is to be a world-class air cargo service provider and in order to achieve that goal, we need to constantly increase frequencies and expand our number of destinations, so that our customers can benefit from our global reach,” says Qatar Airways chief officer cargo Ulrich Ogiermann. “The addition of these new freighter routes clearly represent yet another milestone in Qatar Airways’ growth strategy. And on top of this, we will take delivery of three new freighter aircraft in the course of 2014: two B777F and one A330-F.”
Main exports from Hyderabad will include IT products and pharmaceuticals. Qatar Airways already operates a daily passenger flight between Doha and Hyderabad.
And, effective May 2, Qatar Airways Cargo will begin five weekly Boeing 777 freighter flights to London Stansted. Renowned for its operational capacity and infrastructure quality, Stansted is one of the largest freight hubs in the UK and home to an international cargo operation that transports more than 200,000 tonnes of goods annually to destinations worldwide.
Qatar Airways Cargo is also resuming services to Zaragoza. The scheduled twice-weekly Airbus A330 freighter service commenced on March 1. Textiles, agricultural products, footwear, automobile and pharmaceuticals are the major commodities expected to ship from Zaragoza.