North America Aircargo outlook seems promising

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The North American market is forecast to see 2.8 percent growth over the four years, a figure that is essentially on par with Europe. This long-term projection sees the US continue to lead the world with totals of international freight reaching some 10.1 million tonnes by 2018. Surya Kannoth...

More shippers are flying their goods to market despite higher costs, leapfrogging the ongoing delays at West Coast ports that have hindered the movement of merchandise since before Christmas. This has proved beneficial to a number of North American airlines like Air Canada that have more space in the bellies of their passenger planes than ever before. Air freight volumes jumped 11.7 percent in February compared to a year earlier, according to data released Wednesday by the International Air Transport Association. IATA attributes the unusual spike in traffic to two things: the timing of the Chinese New Year, which tends to be accompanied by increased movement of goods and people, and the congestion at U.S. ports due to a lengthy labour dispute that was resolved in late February. “A combination of factors made February the strongest month in a very long time for air freight,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said in a statement. “Nobody expects growth to continue at this pace.” According to the latest IATA report, the North American market is forecast to see 2.8 percent growth over the four years, a figure that is essentially on par with Europe. This long-term projection sees the US continue to lead the world with totals of international freight reaching some 10.1 million tonnes by 2018. Boeing’s latest World Air Cargo Forecast states North American air traffic is projected to average 2.2 percent growth over the next 10 years and 2.1 percent over the full 20-year forecast period. Transborder air cargo traffic is expected to exceed the growth rate of both the GDPs and the domestic air cargo markets of the two countries. Liberalization of air transportation agreements will foster increased use of relatively uncongested and accessible Canadian airports by US shippers for transport to Europe and Asia. Expansion of passenger airline networks across North America would increase transborder air cargo capacity and traffic. Trans-border air trade between Canada and the United States is projected to grow 4.6 percent annually over the next 10 years and grow at an average rate of 4.4 percent for the entire forecast period through 2033. The US domestic market will maintain the dominant share of the total North American market, with about 95.3 percent of the total RTKs. The US domestic market is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 2.2 percent over the 10-year period from 2013 to 2023 and 2.1 percent over the full 20-year period from 2013 to 2033. The Canadian domestic market is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 2.5 percent over the 10-year period from 2013 to 2023 and 2.3 percent over the full 20-year period from 2013 to 2033, roughly matching Canada’s GDP growth. Overall, growth in both North American domestic air cargo markets could be limited by continued expansion of trucking services in the time-definite sector. For the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which builds, operates, and maintains critical transportation and trade assets in the region, there has been an uptick in trade. Passenger traffic continued growing in February, posting a hefty 8.8 percent increase. This unusually strong number came as no surprise because its weather in February 2014 was far more severe, causing thousands of flight cancellations last year, primarily in domestic markets. Consequently, domestic travel this year contributed the most to the increase, rising 10.6 percent. International passenger levels were up 5.3 percent. Another reason for the traffic increase was a 3.6 percent seat capacity expansion by carriers serving this region. However, the capacity growth disproportionately originated from two facilities: John F Kennedy International Airport and La Guardia. Developments in cargo markets resembled the regional passenger trends as the tonnage increased 6.8 percent in February.

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