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GENEVA: After recent forecasts by Airbus and Boeing, IATA says the air cargo industry will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1 percent over the next five years with the UAE overtaking Germany as the world's third largest market.

The airline association says the U.S., China and the UAE will each handle an additional one million tonnes of airfreight by 2018 compared to today. According to the World Trade Organization, the share of global trade by developing countries has risen from 33 percent to 48 percent since 2000.

EK Tehran 2Acknowledging IATA's prediction that the Middle East will be the fastest growing region with an annual CAGR of 4.7 percent, Emirates (EK) divisional vice president for route planning and economics Anand Lakshminarayanan said: "Countries recognize the importance of seamless global traffic flows and the multiplier effect to their own economies, and this has been instrumental in our own growth as an airline that attracts business and tourism opportunities. We will not deviate from our hub strategy and our future aircraft deliveries and orders are predicated on our non-stop services, connecting city pairs around the globe."

Confirming the EK strategy, IATA says the fastest growing international routes will be between the Middle East and Asia at 6.2 percent per year; within the Middle East (4.6 percent); North America to South America (3.9 percent); and Europe to Southern Africa (3.8 percent).

By 2018 the 10 largest international freight markets are expected to be the U.S. (10,054,000 tonnes), China (5,639,000), the UAE (4,974,000), Germany (4,763,000), Hong Kong (4,648,000), Republic of Korea (3,487,000), Japan (3,480,000), the UK (2,808,000), Chinese Taipei (2,350,000) and India (2,223,000).

For countries with more than 100,000 tonnes of air cargo traffic per year, IATA expects Iran (EK arriving at Tehran right) to be the fastest growing nation over the next five years with a CAGR of 7.0 percent. However as a result of the historic trade embargo, the country will add just 44,000 tonnes by 2018 for a total of 156,000 tonnes.

India, the second fastest-growing market, will produce a CAGR of 6.8 percent to add 622,000 extra freight tonnes per annum while Bangladesh (with an additional 339,000 tonnes), Ethiopia (319,000) and Nigeria (276,000) make up the remainder of the top five fastest growing markets. IATA says Qatar, with a CAGR of 5.7 percent, will be the sixth fastest - adding 361,000 tonnes for a total throughput of 1.5 million tonnes per annum.

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