IATA confirms solid start for air freight in 2016

Data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) relating to global air freight markets in January has identified a rise in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) of 2.7 per cent compared to the corresponding month last year.

According to IATA, this continues the improving trend witnessed toward the end of 2015, and is the fastest pace since April of last year.  The freight load factor (FLF) fell 1.8 percentage points, however, indicating that yields are likely to come under further pressure.

Total FTKs in January surpassed the previous all-time peak reached in February 2015.  All regions except the smallest markets of Africa and Latin America expanded in January, but all regions reported declines in the FLF.  Despite this good start, IATA states that the underlying weak trade performance makes it unlikely that growth will accelerate significantly in the coming months.

In more detail, European airlines’ demand grew by 2.5% in January but the FLF fell 1.5 percentage points, to 41.6%.  IATA outlines that growth may have been flattered by the volatility and weakness seen a year ago and that the growth trend for volumes looks weak for the months ahead, so there is a strong possibility that Europe is in danger of slipping back into negative growth.

Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, commented: "It is good news that volumes are growing, but yields and revenues are still under tremendous pressure.  Air cargo plays a vital role in our globalised and fast-paced world in which trade is the foundation for long-term prosperity.

“Removing barriers to trade is a win-win.  It will shore-up the foundations for stronger economies.  And an improved business environment for air cargo will help facilitate much needed technology and process investments so that the industry will be an even stronger catalyst for growth and development.

“A third of the value of goods traded internationally are delivered by air.  But the value of air cargo goes much deeper in the prosperity that it creates in supporting jobs and economic opportunity.