IATA Signals ‘Modest’ Air Freight Growth

July 4, 2018

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IATA reported a rise in global air freight demand to 4.2 percent in May, but revised down its outlook for 2018 growth, saying trade appears to be softening as trade tensions increase.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) data showed May’s demand expressed in freight tonne kms was down slightly from the revised 5.2 percent figure recorded for April 2018. The international airline body said demand growth has now resumed at a more modest level.

In its mid-year industry outlook, IATA revised its 2018 freight growth down to 4.0 percent from its previous forecast of 4.5 percent made in December 2017.

“After a weak start to 2018, demand for global air freight has now resumed a modest trend upwards. However, the rapid growth seen in 2017 is now over, with demand growing at a significantly slower pace in 2018,” IATA said in its monthly update.

Freight capacity, (in available freight tonne kms), grew 6.2 percent in May over the previous year period, the fourth straight month that capacity growth outstripped demand growth.

“We expect air cargo demand to grow by a modest 4.0 percent in 2018. That's an uptick from a very weak start to the year. But headwinds are strengthening with growing friction among governments on trade,” IATA's Director General Alexandre de Juniac said.

“We still expect demand to grow, but those expectations are dampened with each new tariff introduced. Experience tells us that trade wars, in the long run, only produce losers,” de Juniac added.