“November brought some positive signs for air transport demand—particularly for air cargo,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general and CEO. “It is premature to consider this a turning point for air cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and regaining lost ground. But, when coupled with positive economic developments in the U.S. and an improvement in business confidence in recent months, the conditions are aligning to see a return to growth. We expect that cargo volumes will grow 1.4 percent worldwide in 2013.”
November’s increase over October volumes was 2.4 percent. IATA says this reflects a shift in seasonal shopping to online retailers, which depend heavily on air cargo, as well as suggesting improved consumer confidence in the U.S. Seasonally-adjusted airfreight volumes have now risen back to the levels of mid-2012, after declines in the third quarter.
Asia-Pacific airlines were responsible for almost half the rise in October-to-November volumes. The 2.4 percent rise in month-on-month volumes for the region was in contrast to a 1.5 percent decline compared to November 2011. Freight capacity fell 2.8 percent over the period.
North American carriers saw a 1.7percent increase in freight traffic compared with November 2011, and had cut capacity by 0.6 percent. European airlines recorded capacity growth of 0.3 percent but year-over-year traffic levels were flat.
Continuing the theme throughout the year, Middle East carriers showed the strongest year-over-year freight growth of any region, up 16 percent. With an increase in capacity of just 6.1 percent, they saw load factor improve by four percentage points to 46.7 percent.
Latin American airlines’ freight traffic grew by 4.2 percent, but capacity grew more than twice as fast at 8.5 percent. African carriers grew their freight volumes by 4.4 percent compared to November 2011, ahead of a capacity increase of 3.6 percent, but their load factor at just 26.2 percent remains significantly the poorest in the world.
Tyler summarized: “In the New Year, governments should resolve to bring down the barriers to connectivity growth. This can be done by addressing excessive taxation, high infrastructure costs, onerous regulation and improving the capacity and efficiency of airports and air navigation services. A strong air transport sector is in the self-interest of governments eager to support economic growth and development. Trade is the key to growth. For that, connectivity is critical.”