Air cargo's strongest start in 7 years, says IATA
August 02, 2017: Global air freight markets showed that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), has seen 10.4 percent increase in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This was the strongest first half-year performance since air cargo’s rebound from the Global Financial Crisis in 2010 and nearly triple the industry’s average growth rate of 3.9 percent over the last five years.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 3.6 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Demand growth continues to significantly outstrip capacity growth, which is positive for yields.
African airlines topped the international FTK growth chart in H1 2017, alongside robust growth for the major regions.
Air cargo’s strong performance in the first half of 2017 was confirmed by June’s results. Year-on-year demand growth in June increased 11 percent compared to the same year-earlier period. Freight capacity grew by 5.2 percent year-on-year in June.
The sustained growth of air freight demand is consistent with an improvement in global trade, with new global export orders remaining close to a six-year high. However, there are some signs that the cyclical growth period may have peaked. The global inventory-to-sales ratio has stopped falling. This indicates that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly, which often gives air cargo a boost, may be nearing an end. Regardless of these developments, the outlook for air freight is optimistic with demand expected to grow at a robust rate of 8 percent during the third quarter of this year.
"Air cargo is flying high on the back of a stronger global economy. Demand is growing at a faster pace than at any time since the Global Financial Crisis. That’s great news after many years of stagnation. And, even more importantly, the industry is taking advantage of this momentum to accelerate much-needed process modernisation and improve the value it provides to its many customers," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.