IATA: modest air freight growth of 4.2% in May

Global air freight markets showed that demand measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) rose 4.2 per cent in May compared to the same month last year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

This was slightly down from the 5.2 per cent (revised from 4.1 per cent) growth in annual demand recorded in April 2018, IATA said.

In June, Africa’s FTKs were down two per cent, Asia Pacific up 4.9 per cent, Europe up 2.3 per cent, Latin America up the highest at 11.4 per cent, the Middle East was up 2.4 per cent and North America by 5.9 per cent.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 6.2 per cent year-on-year in May 2018. This was the fourth month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand growth.

The association added that after a weak start to 2018, demand for global air freight has now resumed a “modest trend upwards”.

However, the rapid growth seen in 2017 is now over, with demand growing at a significantly slower pace in 2018.

In IATA’s mid-year industry outlook, 2018 freight growth was revised downwards to four per cent (from the previously forecasted 4.5 per cent in December 2017).

There are three indications that growth will continue at a slower pace the association said including the re-stocking cycle which required quick delivery to meet customer needs is over, the new export orders component of the global manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is at a 21- month low while global trade appears to be softening as trade tensions increase.

IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac said: “We expect air cargo demand to grow by a modest 4.0% in 2018. That’s an uptick from a very weak start to the year.

“But headwinds are strengthening with growing friction among governments on trade. We still expect demand to grow, but those expectations are dampened with each new tariff introduced. Experience tells us that trade wars, in the long run, only produce losers.”