Cargo volume at Saudi grows 26 percent
In the first half of 2012, amid strife and turmoil across much of the industry, Saudi Airlines Cargo carried 251,500 tonnes of cargo. The number is a 26-percent, year-over-year, increase in activity. Cargo revenue rose 25 percent, year-over-year, during the first six months of 2012.
"We experienced all-time records in May and June 2012. The main contributors to our growth were exports from Europe, East Africa and the UAE as well as cargo from our network into Saudi Arabia and West Africa," Saudi's CEO, Fahad Hammad, said in a statement. "We expect the growth spurt to continue in the second half of 2012."
The large increase in activity happened mostly on freighter services. Saudi officials said belly-hold activity remained flat from 2011 to 2012. Charter business also contributed, but is expected to play a more significant role in the second half of the year due to the addition of two freighters, according to a company press release.
In April, Saudi added freighter services to Vienna, Frankfurt, Dubai and Ho Chi Min City, while also increasing capacity in a few key cities in the Asia-Pacific. Officials highlight these strategic moves as the main drivers for the carrier's significant increase in cargo activity, but an increased flow of goods on established routes also helped. Exports from Europe expanded by 75 percent, year-over-year, while goods coming from East Africa represented a 65-percent increase over the first six months of 2012.
Tonnage totals for the first half of the year have also been broken records for other carriers in the region. In early July, Etihad announced a record-breaking tonnage figure for the first half of the year resulting in a 21-percent increase in cargo activity when compared to the first six months of 2011. The carrier's second-quarter results showed a 22-percent, year-over-year, rise in tonnage, with cargo revenues up 11 percent, year-over-year. Officials pointed to passenger network growth, more freighters and expanded cargo routings as reasons for the record numbers.