Airfreight demand edges up but “all is not well”, says IATA

Airfreight volumes edged up slightly in August following on from a decline in July, but Asian and North American carriers still registered a slide in demand for the month.
The latest seasonally adjusted demand data from IATA shows that airlines recorded a 0.2% year-on-year increase in freight tonne km (FTK) in August compared with a year earlier. This follows on from a 0.6% decline in July.
While the figures are an improvement, IATA said performance "varied widely by region".
Asia-Pacific based airlines registered a 1% FTK year-on-year decrease, while North American carriers registered a 3.3% decline and Latin American players saw a 7.3% slide.
The organisation said it was hard to say if declines in Asian demand had bottomed out because of the continued drop in export orders for Chinese manufacturing.
For North America, improved economic performance was not driving airfreight growth, while the Latin American figures reflect the struggles of the Brazilian and Argentinian economies.
In contrast, carriers in the Middle East reported the most significant growth of 10.4% against August last year, followed by African airlines at 2.3% and European firms saw a 0.7% increase.
The European growth comes on the back of improvements in manufacturing businesses, while regional trade has boosted African demand.
Volumes for August were also behind the level registered for December 2014, IATA said.
IATA’s director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: "After declines in July, signs of a stabilisation in air cargo are welcome. But all is not well.
"Total volumes are down 2% compared to the end of 2014. And some of the key reasons for the earlier weakness – for example, downgraded growth expectations in emerging Asia, and the rebalancing of the Chinese economy toward domestic consumption – are still there.
"Even though world trade volumes have slightly picked up, the industry will have to work hard to match the strong finish to 2014."
There was more bad news for the industry as August capacity measured in available airfreight tonne kms jumped by 5.8% compared with the same month last year, causing industry wide load factors to slip to 40.9% from 43.1% a year earlier.

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