Global Air Freight Shows Best Result Since 2010

January 31, 2018

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Global air freight demand grew 9 percent in 2017, more than double the previous year, as freight grew at twice the rate of world trade.

The International Air Transport Association’s annual freight report also showed a solid result for December, with demand up 5.7 percent while airlines kept capacity growth in check.

IATA said strong global demand for manufacturing exports was responsible for the freight growth as companies moved to restock inventories.

“Air cargo had its strongest performance since the rebound from the global financial crisis in 2010,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said.

“We saw improvements in load factors, yields and revenues. Air cargo is still a very tough and competitive business, but the developments in 2017 were the most positive that we have seen in a very long time.”

All regions reported increased freight demand, with Africa topping the growth table on a 24.8 percent increase.

Of the more established markets, Europe saw demand increase by 11.8 percent in 2017, with North America reporting a 7.9 percent uplift, just beating Asia Pacific on 7.8 percent.

Capacity increases followed a broadly similar trend with Africa adding the most at 9.9 percent, with Europe on 5.9 percent and Latin America returning 3.1 percent. North America grew capacity by a modest 1.6 percent.

Looking forward, de Juniac was optimistic, citing buoyant consumer confidence and growth in international e-commerce as an influence on future freight growth. But he did flag a slowing of demand growth this year.

“Overall the pace of growth is expected to slow from the exceptional 9.0 percent of this year, but we still expect a very healthy 4.5 percent expansion of demand in 2018.”