The latest global air freight data from IATA
shows that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs),
increased by 11.4% in July 2017 compared to the same period a year
This is the fourth time in five months that a
double-digit annual growth has been recorded. July’s year-on-year
increase in demand is nearly four times higher than the ten year
average growth rate of 3.1%.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight
tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 3.7% year-on-year in July 2017.
The robust growth in air cargo demand is
consistent with an uptick in global trade, rising export orders
and upbeat business confidence indicators. There are, however,
signs that demand growth for air freight may be nearing a peak.
Seasonally-adjusted air freight volumes were flat in June and fell
in July; and the global inventory-to-sales ratio has stabilized.
Air cargo often sees a boost in demand at the beginning of an
economic upturn as companies look to restock inventories quickly.
This tapers as inventories are adjusted to new demand levels.
"July was a strong month for air cargo with double-digit
growth. And for the third consecutive month demand for air freight
grew at a faster pace than demand for air travel. While the
outlook for the rest of the year remains positive, there are signs
that the cyclical growth period may be nearing a peak," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
Regional Air Freight Performance
All regions posted robust freight
growth in July 2017.
Asia Pacific airlines’ freight
volumes grew 11% in July 2017 compared to the same period a year
earlier and capacity increased by 6.3%. Demand growth was robust
on all the major routes to, from and within the region.
Seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes fell slightly in
July but remain more than 3% above the volumes reached following
the 2010 post-global financial crisis bounce-back.
North American carriers posted an increase in freight volumes of
11.9% in July 2017, and a capacity increase of 1.1%.
Seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes continued their
strong upwards trend. The strength of the US dollar has boosted
the inbound freight market over the past few years. Data from the
US Census Bureau showed a 12.5% increase in air imports to the US
in the first half of 2017. However, the decline in the US dollar
since the start of the year is likely to help rebalance trade
European airlines posted a 12.1% increase in
freight demand in July 2017 and a capacity increase of 5.5%.
Double-digit growth in international demand has now been recorded
in nine out of the past eleven months bolstered by strong demand
on the Europe-Asia market. While export orders remain strong the
recent strengthening of the Euro may begin to weigh upon the
Middle Eastern carriers’
year-on-year freight volumes increased 9.3% in July 2017 and
capacity decreased 0.4%. Seasonally-adjusted international freight
volumes have maintained their solid upward trend. However, amid
strong competition from other region’s carriers particularly on
the Asia-Europe route, the Middle East carriers are not seeing as
strong a pickup in the seasonally adjusted traffic trend as other
Latin American airlines
experienced a growth in demand of 5.8% in July 2017 compared to
the same period in 2016. Capacity increased by 4.7% over the same
period. Seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes grew
strongly in July 2017 however they remained 9% lower than at the
peak in 2014. The region continues to be impacted by challenging
economic and political conditions, particularly in the largest
African carriers posted the largest
year-on-year increase in demand of all regions in July 2017 with
freight volumes growing 33.7% - the second fastest monthly rise in
seven years. Capacity increased by 4.5% over the same time period.
Demand has been boosted by very strong growth on the trade lanes
to and from Asia which increased 80% year-on-year in June (latest
available data) and by 65% in the first half of the year.
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