IATA's data for global air freight markets shows
that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), rose
6.8% in November 2016 compared to the same month last year.
This is a slight slowdown from the 8.4% annual
growth recorded in October 2016 - which was a 20-month high - but
was still more than 2.5 times the average annual monthly growth
rate of 2.6% over the past decade.
Growth in freight capacity, measured in
available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), slowed to 4.4%
The uptick in freight growth coincides with an
increase in the shipment of silicon materials typically used in
high-value consumer electronics shipped by air, and an apparent
turnaround in new export orders. A modal shift to air cargo
following the collapse of the Hanjin Shipping Company in August
may have also contributed.
"Air cargo enjoyed a strong peak season in
November," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
"And there are encouraging signs that this growth will to continue
into 2017, particularly with the shipment of high-value consumer
electronics and their component parts. But, the trend in world
trade is still stagnant. So it remains critically important for
the air cargo industry to continue to improve its value offering
by implementing modern customer-centric processes."
Airlines in all regions except Latin America
reported an increase in year-on-year demand in November.
Asia Pacific airlines saw demand in freight
volumes grow 6.1% in November 2016 compared to the same period in
2015 and capacity grew by 4.0%. Seasonally-adjusted volumes are
now back to the levels reached in 2010 during the post-global
financial crisis bounce-back. The increase in demand is captured
in the positive outlook from business surveys in the region.
North American carriers’ freight volumes
expanded 5.6% in November 2016 compared to the same period a year
earlier, and capacity increased by 2.6%. Freight traffic across
the Atlantic continued to strengthen, increasing by 9.0% in
October. This is being driven in part by an increase in westbound
import flows from Europe to the US helped by a strong dollar.
However US exports continue to suffer from the strength of the US
European airlines posted a 9.0% year-on-year
increase in freight demand in November. This was a slight slowdown
compared to the 13.3% growth recorded in October, possibly
attributable in part to the strike at Lufthansa. Notwithstanding
this, the seasonally-adjusted growth trend is strong and
corresponds with the sustained increase in export orders in
Germany over the last few months and the ongoing weakness in the
Euro. Capacity in the region increased by 4.8%.
Middle Eastern carriers enjoyed a boost in
demand from the strong peak season with freight volumes increasing
by 7.8% in November 2016, year-on-year. Seasonally-adjusted growth
has slowed, however, mainly due to weak freight volumes between
the Middle East and Asia, and the Middle East and Europe. Freight
volumes grew by just 4% on these routes in the January-October
2016 period, compared with 8-11% over the same period in 2015.
Capacity in the region increased by 5.1% in November.
Latin American airlines experienced a demand
contraction of 1.3% in November 2016, compared to the same period
last year. However in seasonally-adjusted terms growth levels are
in-line with where they were at the start of 2016. The region
continues to be blighted by weak economic and political
conditions, particularly in the largest economy, Brazil. The
‘within South America’ market has been the weakest performer to
date with volumes down nearly 20% compared to the same period in
2015. Capacity in the region decreased by 1.6% in November.
African carriers’ posted the largest increase in
freight demand among the regions in November, 10.9% year-on-year,
and the seasonally-adjusted growth remains strong. However,
capacity surged by 26.9% on the back of long-haul expansion,
particularly by Ethiopian Airlines, and this caused the freight
load factor to fall in annual terms for the 19th consecutive
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