Air Freight Demand Growth Eased In April

June 1, 2017

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Global demand for air freight rose 8.5 percent in April, but IATA says there are signs that the cyclical growth peak for air cargo has passed.

IATA said in its monthly air freight market update that business confidence indicators remain consistently upbeat and that there is often a boost in demand at the beginning of an economic upturn as companies look to restock inventories quickly.

But IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac cautioned that “Demand eased in April. Growth rates, however, are still much more robust than anything we have seen in the last six years. That’s good news, but it should not be taken as a message that all is well in air cargo.”

Africa topped the table for growth in April on 26 percent, but in the major markets, Europe again came out on top with a 12.9 percent improvement in demand. Asia Pacific saw an 8.4 percent uplift, with North America close behind on 7.3 percent growth. Latin America was the only region where freight demand shrank, dropping 1.9 percent in the month.

While demand rose 8.5 percent, carriers were more careful in adding capacity, at 3.9 percent overall. Regionally Africa again topped the growth table with a 17.7 percent increase, followed by Europe’s 6.9 percent and Asia Pacific on 3.7 percent. North America added 2.1 percent more freight capacity in April.

The overall freight load factor improved 1.9 percentage points to 45 percent, but there were wide regional variations, with Africa managing just a 23.6 percent load factor. Asia Pacific in contrast filled 54.7 percent of its capacity, with Europe on 47.9 percent and North America 36.1 percent. All regions improved their freight load factors with the exception of Latin America which eased back 0.6 points to 33.3 percent.