IATA: Global air freight market demand flat

Global air freight markets were flat in November 2018, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), was flat the same in November 2018, compared to the same month the year before. This was the slowest rate of growth recorded since March 2016, following 31 consecutive months of year-on-year increases.

Regionally, FTKs in Africa fell 7.8 per cent, 2.3 per cent in Asia Pacific, and 0.2 per cent in Europe but FTKs grew 3.1 per cent in Latin America, 3.1 per cent in North America and 1.7 per cent in the Middle East.

Globally, freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 4.3 per cent year-on-year in November 2018. This was the ninth month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand. The freight load factor was down 2.2 percentage points in the month to 51.5 per cent.

While international e-commerce continues to grow, IATA said overall demand faced significant headwinds as there are signs of weakness in global economic activity; a contraction in export order books in all major exporting nations, with the exception of the US; shorter supplier delivery times in Asia and Europe; and a weakened consumer confidence compared to very high levels at the beginning of 2018.

IATA general director and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac said: “Normally the fourth quarter is a peak season for air cargo. So essentially flat growth in November is a big disappointment.

“While our outlook is for 3.7% demand growth in 2019, downside risks are mounting. Trade tensions are cause for great concern. We need governments to focus on enabling growth through trade, not barricading their borders through punitive tariffs.”