In the Americas, Chile-based LATAM Cargo and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines reported continued year-over-year declines in cargo traffic for the month of May.
The former saw the second month in a row of year-over-year traffic declines, tipping the year-to-date performance into a decline, while Delta Cargo extended the double-digit declines of April, worsening its year-to-date decline.
LATAM Cargo’s traffic for May declined 5.3% year-over-year to 287 million RTKs. Year-to-date, traffic is down 0.6%. However, load factors also increased 2.3 percentage points to 56.4% for the month, thanks to a 9.0% y-o-y decrease in available ton kilometers (AFTKs) for May. Through the first five months of 2019, AFTKs have decreased by 2.3%.
In the United States, Delta Cargo reported an even sharper decline, of 11.5%, to about 167 million cargo ton miles (or about 244 million FTKs). Year-to-date, Delta’s cargo traffic is down by 6.8%.
Air cargo operators and industry associations have warned of the impact of protectionism and tariffs on global trade for some time now, and so far in 2019, those concerns have materialized in the form of worsening traffic figures and declining volumes. There is some suggestion that air cargo may get a short-term boost with retailers turning to airfreight to avoid congested ports ahead of the tariffs, but longer-term, global trade is expected to continue to be impacted by worsening economic sentiment, generally.