Despite earlier reports from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) and others that Chinese New Year had little effect on February numbers, WorldACD noted a slowdown in growth for February, with year-over-year volumes increasing by a lower 4.4 percent – well below the 8.5 percent growth the market data group recorded for January.
Worldwide air cargo yield, meanwhile, rose both month-over-month – 1 percent above January to US$1.91 per kilogram – and y-o-y, increasing 23.1 percent from February 2017.
In terms of volume growth, the Asia-Pacific and Americas regions experienced the most growth for the first two months of 2018, at 9.3 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, y-o-y. The destinations that saw the most y-o-y growth during January and February include Europe, Central and South America and Africa, at 9.5 percent, 8.5 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.
The growth slowdown was due primarily to two factors: negative growth to Asia-Pacific-region destinations, particularly to Hong Kong, Eastern China and Taiwan; and a drop in air cargo shipments ex-Europe, as the 12 percent volume increase reported there in January fell to only 0.5 percent y-o-y growth for February.
With the Valentine’s Day holiday in February, Ecuador, Kenya and Colombia all experienced a surge in flower exports by air, most of which were bound for destinations in the United States and Western Europe. Colombia also saw the largest yield increase, of 14.6 percent, y-o-y.
Regarding yield increases, the Asia-Pacific market grew particularly in February with strong demand ahead of Chinese New Year.
With overall strength in February despite the lower rate of airfreight volume growth, WorldACD is optimistic that February’s numbers represent “a good start of the year by any standard,” excepting 2017’s truly exceptional numbers.