Global Air Freight Demand Strong In First Half

August 2, 2017

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Global demand for air freight grew by 10.4 percent in the first six months of 2017, the strongest first half performance since the global financial crisis in 2010.

Freight capacity also rose in the period, IATA said in its monthly update, but by a more modest 3.6 percent compared with same period in 2016.

“Air cargo is flying high on the back of a stronger global economy. Demand is growing at a faster pace than at any time since the global financial crisis. That’s great news after many years of stagnation,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said.

Regionally, Africa saw the highest rate of growth, 31.6 percent, but from a low base. Of the larger markets, Europe’s freight demand increased by 14.3 percent, North America by 12.7 percent, and Asia Pacific by 10.1 percent in freight tonne km terms.

Capacity increased in all regions, with Asia Pacific topping the table with a 7.8 percent increase, Africa came a close second on 7.6 percent, and Europe third with a 6.1 percent lift. North America increased freight capacity by 3.0 percent.

IATA said the growth of air freight demand is consistent with improved global trade, with new global export orders remaining close to a six-year high. However, it warned of signs that the cyclical growth period may have peaked.

“The global inventory-to-sales ratio has stopped falling. This indicates that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly, which often gives air cargo a boost, may be nearing an end,” IATA said in a statement.