Decline in air cargo demand may be bottoming out, says IATA

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Jan 12, 2016: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing air cargo volumes (measured in Freight Tonne Kilometers) were down 1.2 percent in November 2015, compared to November 2014. Total cargo volumes, however, expanded compared to October 2015, and were higher than the low point in August.

The negative year-on-year comparisons occurred across all regions with the exception of the Middle East. Of the major markets that together comprise more than 80 percent of total trade, Europe was down 2.0 percent, North America by 3.2 percent, and Asia-Pacific by 1.5 percent.

The comparative weakness in these regions was driven largely because the performance in November 2014 was very strong.

Latin American markets also fell, by 6.4 percent. Few positive signals emerged from the markets in this region, with economic and political conditions in Brazil particularly weak.

The Middle East region posted 5.4 percent growth. Although the Middle East led the way as the only market showing positive growth, the rate fell to less than half the 11.9 percent average growth for the year-to-date. Falls in the oil price are impacting some economies in the region.

African carriers experienced a fall in demand of 6 percent, and capacity rose by 6.6 percent. Africa remains one of only three regions (with Asia-Pacific and Middle East) to record positive year-to-date growth for 2015. Demand is holding up despite the underperformance of Nigeria and South Africa.

"The freight performance in November was a mixed bag. Although the headline growth rate fell again, and the global economic outlook remains fragile, it appears that parts of Asia-Pacific are growing again and globally, export orders are looking better. In fact, the downward trend in FTK volumes appears to be bottoming out. But there is a great deal of uncertainty. The current volatility of stock markets shows how much the health of the global economy – upon which air cargo depends - remains on a knife-edge," said Tony Tyler, director general and chief executive officer, IATA.

Nov 2015 vs. Nov 2014   FTK Growth        AFTK Growth     FLF

International      -1.3percent        3.8percent          50.8percent

Domestic             -0.4percent        7.2percent          30.4percent

Total Market      -1.2percent        4.5percent          46.8percent

YTD 2015 vs. YTD  2014   FTK Growth        AFTK Growth     FLF

International      2.6percent          6.4percent          47.6percent

Domestic             0.0percent          4.5percent          29.5percent

Total Market      2.3percent          6.0percent          44.1percent

FTK: freight tonne kilometers

AFTK: available freight tonne kilometers

FLF: freight load factor 

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