IATA: Jan. air cargo volumes represent “worst performance in the last three years”

In a report released today by IATA, data for global airfreight markets indicates that demand for air cargo, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased by an average of 1.8 percent, year-over-year, in January – which IATA called the “worst performance in the last three years” – while available capacity increased again, by 4 percent, for the 11thmonth in a row.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, noted that the trend has been ongoing since mid-2018 and conveyed the familiar sentiment that “unless protectionist measures and trade tensions diminish, there is little prospect of a quick rebound.”

Half of the six regions showed marginal year-over-year decreases, namely Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East’s, where volumes contracted by 3.6, 3.1 and 4.5 percent, respectively, during the month. IATA said that both Asia-Pacific and Europe could be being affected by “poor manufacturing conditions.”

Latin American carriers maintained its average, showing a 0 percent change in FTKs recorded, compared to January 2018. However, freight traffic specifically within South America and between Central and South America actually grew at “a double-digit rate” in January, IATA said.

Africa and North America were the only two regions that increased volumes during the period, by 1.0 and 3.3 percent, respectively.

IATA said that growth in the U.S. has been fueled by a healthy economy and strong consumer spending, outweighing any potential effects of increased tariffs. The Asia-Pacific region, however, could be suffering more from such tensions.

Air Cargo World looks forward to continuing the discussion of the effects of the international trade environment on air cargo volumes next week at IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in Singapore.

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