Americas Cargo Monthly: Demand flies at US carriers

13 / 04 / 2017

March was a bumper month for US carriers as the big three all registered a surge in air cargo demand.

United, American and Delta all saw cargo demand increase during March compared with a year ago, with Delta registering its first year on year improvement since February 2015.

IATA has reported that the strength of the dollar is helping to boost imports, while there are also reports of a tightening of ocean capacity on the transatlantic as a result of a restructuring of shipping line alliances. Airports have also been reporting strong cargo demand growth for the month.

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Atlanta-headquartered Delta registered a demand improvement of 5.5% on a year earlier to 172m cargo ton miles (CTM).

The March increase almost pushed the carrier to first quarter growth – something it has not managed since first quarter 2015 – but in the end it finished just shy, down 1.5% on a year earlier.

At United – the largest of the carriers in cargo terms – saw demand during the month increase by 23.9% year on year to 280m CTM.

This is the airline’s largest monthly year-on-year percentage improvement since September 2014 and its busiest March since Air Cargo News records began in 2012.

During the first quarter, the airline registered a demand improvement of 16.9% against the same period last year to 749m CTM.

American also reported strong growth for the month, with an improvement 16.6% year on year to 237m CTM.

This was the carrier’s largest monthly improvement on a year earlier since Air Cargo News records began in 2014 and its busiest March overall since 2014.

The month was not quite so strong for the LATAM group as it saw cargo demand for the month decrease by 10.6% on a year earlier to 270m revenue tonne km.

However, it has been taking steps to meet the challenging market conditions in South and Latin America by reducing freighter capacity and as a result, its cargo load factor actually improved to 53.6% compared with 52.4% a year ago.

At the end of last year, the carrier had jettisoned one of its B777-200F, compared with the end of 2015, leaving it with a freighter fleet of two B777-200Fs and eight B767-300Fs. This year there are plans to release another of its B777-200Fs.

Earlier this month LATAM revealed a new cargo boss.

Click here or on the chart below for interactive table