IATA concern over ‘stagnating’ air freight volumes

The latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for global air freight markets confirm a continued slowdown in growth for air cargo demand during June.  In line with a reduction in trade activity and weaker than expected global growth, air freight volumes measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) rose by just 1.2% compared to a year ago.

Regional performance varied widely, with carriers in several regions reporting year-on-year declines – Asia-Pacific (-0.3%), North American (-3.3%) and Latin American (-1.6%).

European carriers reported flat demand in June (0.0%), compared to a year ago and capacity rose 2.2%.  Improvements in Eurozone business confidence have not led to increased air freight demand, and consumer confidence has been hit by the Greek crisis.  Growth for the year-to-date was -0.6%. 

In contrast, the above figures were offset by the strong performance of Middle Eastern (+15.3%) and African (+6.7%) carriers to keep growth in positive territory.  Capacity in the two regions rose by 19.2% and 6.7% respectively.

The general trend of a weaker 2015 compared to 2014 can be seen in IATA’s half-year data.  Air freight markets expanded by 5.8% in 2014; however year-to-date growth for 2015 stands at only 3.5%.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, commented: "The half-year report for air cargo is not encouraging.  With growth of just 1.2% over June last year, markets are basically stagnating.  Some carriers are doing better than others at picking up the business that is out there.  But overall it has been a disappointing first half of 2015, especially considering the strong finish to 2014.

“The remainder of the year holds mixed signals.  The general expectation is for an acceleration of economic growth, but business confidence and export orders look weak.  Air cargo and the global economy will all benefit if governments can successfully focus on stabilising growth and stimulating trade by removing barriers.”

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