IATA Reports Strong Start For Air Cargo

March 7, 2018

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Global demand for air freight grew 8.0 percent in January as the market for manufacturing exports remained buoyant, IATA said in its monthly update.

The increase in freight tonne kms is up from December’s 5.8 percent uptick, with freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kms (AFTK), up by 4.2 percent from January 2017.

All regions reported an increase in demand in January, with Africa again leading the pack on a 12.9 percent increase, albeit from a low base. European carriers posted a 10.5 percent increase in freight volumes, Latin America 8.0 percent and Asia Pacific 7.7 percent. North American freight demand was only a fraction lower at 7.5 percent.

Director General Alexandre de Juniac said 2018 had seen a solid start, but IATA expects “demand for air cargo to taper to a more normal 4.5 percent growth rate for the full year.”

He cautioned on potential headwinds, saying that “If President Trump follows through on his promise to impose sanctions on aluminium and steel imports, there is a very real risk of a trade war. Nobody wins when protectionist measures escalate.”

All regions bar the Middle East, with a 6.3 percent increase, grew cargo capacity by less than demand growth. Asia Pacific airlines added the least amount of capacity with a 2.2 percent lift in AFTKs, North America added 4.2 percent and Europe 5.3 percent.

The more measured increase in capacity resulted in a 1.5 percent rise in global freight load factor.