The latest global air freight
data from IATA shows that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers
(FTKs), climbed 8.8% in November 2017 compared to a year ago.
This was an increase from the 5.8% annual growth recorded
in October 2017. Despite indicators pointing to air cargo having
passed a cyclical growth peak, demand remains strong.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers
(AFTKs), rose by 4.0% year-on-year in November. This was the 16th consecutive month in which demand growth outstripped capacity
growth, which is positive for industry load factors, yields, and financial performance.
The uptick in freight growth
coincides with the traditional period of strong demand seen in the
fourth quarter. Novemberís robust performance puts the air cargo
industry on track to achieve its strongest operational and
financial performance since the post-global financial crisis
rebound in 2010.
The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for
manufacturing and export orders, which has tracked sideways for
much of 2017, reached a seven-year high in the fourth quarter
signifying that growth is carrying momentum into 2018.
"Air freight demand remains robust. November showed 8.8%
year-on-year growth, keeping up the momentum that will make 2017
the strongest year for air cargo since 2010. And there are several
indicators that 2018 will be a good year as well. In particular,
buoyant consumer confidence, the growth of international
e-commerce and the broad-based global economic upturn are cause
for optimism as we head into the New Year," said Alexandre de
Juniac, IATAís Director General and CEO.
Airlines in all regions reported an increase
in total year-on-year demand in November.
airlines saw freight volumes increase by 8.1% and capacity expand
by 1.2% in November, compared to the same period last year. The
regionís manufacturers continue to enjoy buoyant export order
books. And the major exporters in China and Japan are reporting
rising demand supported in part by a pick-up in economic activity
in Europe and a continued solid performance from the US. This is
expected to support demand into the New Year.
American carriers posted an increase in freight volumes of 9.6%
for November. Capacity increased 3.9%. The strength of the US
economy and the US dollar have improved the inbound freight market
in recent years. Data from the US Census Bureau shows an 11.6%
year-on-year increase in air imports to the US in the first ten
months of 2017, compared to a slower rise in exports of 6.7%. The
recently agreed US tax reform bill may also help to support
freight volumes in the period ahead.
airlines posted a 9.9% increase in freight demand in November and
a capacity increase of 4.7%. Concerns that the recent
strengthening of the euro might have affected the regionís
exporters have not materialized. Europeís manufacturersí export
orders are growing at their fastest pace on record. This is
expected to support demand into the New Year.
Eastern carriersí year-on-year freight volumes increased 6.6% in
November and capacity increased 3.1%. During the same period
carriers in the region posted 6.6% growth in international freight
volumes - the slowest regional year-on-year growth for the second
time in three months. However, seasonally-adjusted international
freight volumes have continued to trend upwards at a rate of 8-10%
over the past six months. Notably, freight load factors have
increased substantially on routes to and from the Middle East to North America, indicating a fall in capacity flown on the route.
Latin American airlines experienced a growth in
demand of 9.4% in November and a capacity increase of 11.1%
compared to the same period in 2016. International freight volumes
rose by 9.6% over the same period. This is well ahead of the
five-year average growth rate of 0.9%. The pick-up in demand comes
alongside signs of economic recovery in the regionís largest
economy, Brazil. seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes
are now back to the levels seen at the end of 2014.
African carriers posted the largest year-on-year increase in
demand of all regions in November, with freight volumes rising
17.5%. Capacity increased 24%. During the same period
international freight volumes grew by 17.8%, a deceleration from
27.2% in October. However, this still was the 13th month of
double-digit increases. Demand has been boosted by very strong
growth in Africa-Asia trade which increased by more than 67% in
the first ten months of the year.
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