Monday, November 3, 2014

September Air Freight Figures Show Positive Signs of More Cargo Availability

Gains Against 2013 for Most Regions
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets showing an acceleration of demand in September. Measured by freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), volumes rose 5.2% compared to September last year, which is 0.8 percentage points ahead of the 4.4% average growth in demand reported for the year-to-date whilst capacity grew by 3.8%.

Although the overall growth rate continues the positive trend of recent months, regional variations are significant. Airlines in Asia-Pacific, North America, Middle East and Africa all posted strong growth figures (between 5% and 17% above previous year levels). European airlines, however, saw a decline of 1.6% compared to September 2013 and Latin American airlines reported little difference from 2013 with just 0.3% growth. Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, commented:

“There were mixed messages in September’s freight performance. The solid 5.7% growth for Asia Pacific airlines is a particularly positive sign given their 40% market share. But the 1.6% decline in demand for European airlines is a worrying trend that reflects the general uncertainty in the European economy amplified by sanctions resulting from the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Overall, improvements in global business confidence have stagnated, which could mean a bumpy road ahead for air cargo.”

Middle Eastern carriers grew cargo volumes by 17%, a particularly strong result when compared with their average growth in demand for the year-to-date of 10.1%, regional capacity expanded 14.5%. African airlines saw air cargo expand by 11.5%. Regional trade volumes are still volatile, but there are signs that key economies, like South Africa, are showing signs of better performance compared to earlier this year. Capacity in Africa registered the biggest fall at 1.3%.

North American carriers reported an increase in cargo FTKs of 5.4%. Latest data for business activity is positive, pointing to continuing growth in the months ahead and regional trade growth has accelerated. Capacity fell 0.2%, which helped support load factors which remain significantly below the global average (36% compared to 45.5%). Asia-Pacific carriers reported similar growth of 5.7% compared to September 2013. The region is benefitting from a rebound in trade activity after a slowdown in Q1. The release of the iPhone 6 is credited with increasing freight shipments from China and overall capacity increased 5.6%.

European airlines saw air freight volumes fall 1.6%. This follows several months of persistent weakness as the Eurozone economies slow down, and the impact of sanctions on Russia continues and the Air France strike also impacted on volumes whilst capacity grew by 1.2%. Smallest growth was in Latin America where cargo carriers reported growth of just 0.3% set against a rise in capacity of 1.7%. However IATA says the data for trade and exports in the region is positive, so there is a good chance that air freight volumes will pick up in coming months.