Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO

Latest IATA figures reveal modest air cargo growth

Data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have identified a 1.6% rise in global air freight volumes during March, compared to the corresponding period last year, when measured in Freight Tonne Kilometres (FTK).

The monthly performance stands in sharp contrast to the exceptionally strong 12.2% rise reported for February, which according to IATA ‘was positively skewed by the combined impacts of the timing of the Lunar New Year and the labour dispute at US West Coast seaports’.

However, the regional performance picture remains highly mixed.  Latin American and European carriers reported market contractions while Middle East carriers showed rapid growth.

In more detail, Latin American airlines reported a fall of 6.4% in year-on-year FTKs, while European carriers declined 2.4% in March, compared to a year ago.  In contrast, Middle Eastern carriers saw FTKs grow by 10.6%, fuelled by network and capacity expansion.

Overall, air freight performance over the first quarter of the year indicates year-on-year growth of 5.3%.  This is in line with general global economic trends and slightly higher than the 4.5% growth that was anticipated in IATA’s December outlook.

“The air cargo industry is on a solid but unspectacular growth trend.  And there is little evidence today that would point towards an acceleration as the year goes on,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

In the longer-term, IATA is calling on governments to work in partnership to remove barriers to trade.

Mr Tyler continued: “The growth in air cargo markets has shifted down a gear.  World trade and air cargo are still growing, but only in line with industrial production.  Removing barriers to trade in line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) would deliver a much needed boost to the global economy.”

The World Economic Forum estimates that the WTO TFA could boost the global economy by as much as $1 trillion.