IATA's global air freight data for May 2018
shows that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs),
rose 4.2% compared to the same month in 2017.
This was slightly down from the 5.2%
(revised from 4.1%) growth in annual demand recorded in April
Freight capacity, measured in available
freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 6.2% year-on-year in May
2018. This was the fourth month in a row that capacity growth
outstripped demand growth.
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 4.0% from
the previously forecasted 4.5% in December 2017.
three indications that growth will continue at a slower pace:
- 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; and
- Global trade appears to be softening as trade
"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," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and
All regions except Africa reported an increase in
growth in May 2018.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw freight
demand increase in May 2018 to grow 4.9% compared to the same
period last year. This was an increase over the 3.9% recorded the
previous month. Capacity increased by 7.4%. As the largest
freight-flying region, carrying close to 37% of global air
freight, the risks from protectionist measures impacting the
region are disproportionately high. That said, there are signs
that demand is accelerating for international FTK’s.
North American airlines’ freight volumes expanded 5.9% in April
2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. This was an
increase in demand from the 4.6% rate of growth recorded the
previous month. Capacity increased by 5.4%. The recent momentum of
the US economy and the US dollar has helped strengthen demand for
air imports. Data from the US Census Bureau shows a 12% year-on-year increase in imports by air in April, compared to 2.4%
growth in March.
European airlines posted a 2.3%
increase in freight volumes in May 2018. This was a slowdown from
the 3.5% rate of growth the previous month. Capacity increased
6.0%. Seasonally-adjusted volumes rose slightly over the past two
months; however, the annualized rate of growth over the past six
months remains low at only 1.5%.
carriers’ freight volumes grew 2.4% in May 2018. This was a
significant deceleration in demand of over 6.9% the previous
month. The decrease mainly reflects developments from a year ago
rather than a substantive change in the current freight trend.
Seasonally-adjusted freight volumes continue to trend upwards at a
comparatively modest pace by the region’s standards. This is
consistent with signs of a broader moderation in global trade.
Capacity increased 3.3%.
Latin American airlines
experienced growth in demand of 11.4% in May 2018 - the largest
increase of any region for the third consecutive month. Capacity
increased by 1.5%. The pick-up in demand over the last 18 months
comes alongside signs of economic recovery in the region’s largest
economy, Brazil. Seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes
surpassed the May 2014 peak this month.
carriers saw freight demand contract 2.0% in May 2018 compared to
the same month last year. Capacity increased by 20.4%. After a
surge in international FTK volumes last year, seasonally-adjusted
international freight volumes have now trended downwards at an
annualized pace of 15% over the past six months. This mainly
reflects a softening in demand on markets to/from Asia and the
Loading a Jeep Wrangler
onto a CargoLogicAir Boeing 747-8F
Loading a Jeep Wrangler onto a CargoLogicAir
Boeing 747-8F at Farnborough International Airshow 2018 on Sunday,
15 July 2018. Launched in 2015, CargoLogicAir is the United
Kingdom’s only maindeck freighter airline. Headquartered close to
London Heathrow Airport and with its main operating base at London
Stansted Airport, CargoLogicAir connects companies with prime
export markets in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia