IATA points to cargo traffic improvement, but problems remain

IATA’s latest monthly Airlines Financial Monitor, that for July, has highlighted the fact that freight data it has collected points to “an improvement from the weak conditions seen earlier in 2016”.
However, it warned: “Familiar headwinds persist, and low freight loads are keeping downward pressure on cargo yields and revenues.”
The seasonally-adjusted load factor has recovered somewhat from the lows seen in the first quarter of this year, but the poor cargo load factors that keep yields under pressure remain a particular problem for Asia-Pacific carriers, for whom cargo is a key part of their business.
The Airlines Financial Monitor continued: “Industry-wide available freight capacity growth has continued to outstrip that of demand; ongoing impetus to freight belly capacity from additions to the passenger fleet mean that annual growth in industry-wide freight capacity has now exceeded annual growth in volumes for 16 consecutive months.
“Despite their relatively small share of the freight market, African carriers are at the forefront of the freight capacity growth story, with AFTKs (available freight tonne-kilometres) up more than 22% year-on-year in H1 2016,” IATA observed.
Worryingly, the industry-wide freight load factor fell to 42.5% in the first half of 2016, 2.3 percentage points lower than in the first half of 2015.
More positively, the report suggests that initial financial results from the April-June period across the wider aviation business point to “another solid quarter for industry profitability and cash flow”.

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