The annual IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) report released today revealed a 1.6 percentage-point decrease in the worldwide freight load factor to 47.4 percent. IATA’s industry performance statistics for 2015 were based on a total of 214.2 billion freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) – up 2.3 percent, year-over-year – against a capacity of 254.2 billion available FTKs (a 5.8 percent increase) flown over the course of the year. These statistics add to a growing body of evidence that air cargo is in the doldrums.
Ranked by total freight tonnes carried, FedEx was the clear market leader, with 7.1 million tonnes carried last year. The integrator held onto its top spot despite a 1.4 percent decrease in demand to 15.8 billion scheduled FTKs. In a distant second place, UPS carried 4.5 million tonnes. Emirates Airlines carried the third-largest total cargo, at 2.5 million tonnes, followed by Cathay Pacific Airlines, at 1.6 million tonnes, and Korean Air, with 1.5 million tonnes.
The major freight routes in 2015 largely serviced markets in the Northern Hemisphere. The North America-Asia route saw the most FTKs, constituting 21.2 percent of the global market. Europe-Asia was another busy route, accounting for a close-second 19.9 percent of air cargo in 2015. Another major route was the transatlantic Europe-North America route, at 10.1 percent.
While the top-five air cargo carriers all held on to the positions that they held in 2014, there were interesting moves elsewhere in the rankings. Qatar Airways, Polar Air Cargo and AirBridgeCargo Airlines were big winners moving up two, seven and five points, respectively, in the top-25 rankings for FTKs flown.
Qatar Airways, which moved into the number-six spot, increased its FTKs by more than 1.6 billion, flying 7.6 billion in 2015. Polar Air Cargo and AirBridgeCargo Airlines also both added more than a billion FTKs to their books, flying 4.18 billion and 4.06 billion, respectively.
British Airways, however, was a major loser in the rankings, falling 3 percentage points 6.3 percent, y-o-y. EVA Air also fell four spots, with an FTK decrease of 6.2 percent. Air France also took a hit, with a 10.7 percent reduction in demand to 3.4 billion FTK.