Global air cargo traffic grew a modest but significant 1.6 percent in November from a year ago driven by a surge in U.S. online shopping that more than reversed a 2.6 percent year-on-year decline in October, the International Air Transport Association said.
But the airline industry body noted this growth was partially due to the impact of the floods in Thailand in the year-earlier period and cautioned the market isn’t poised for a major rebound.
“It is premature to consider this is a turning point for air cargo markets in terms of bouncing back and regaining lost ground,” said IATA Chief Executive Tony Tyler.
“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 in 2013.”
Seasonally adjusted air freight volumes have risen to the levels of mid-212 after declines in the third quarter.
Air cargo volumes are expected to grow by 1.3 percent in 2013, Tyler said.
Volume grew 2.4 percent month-to-month, as the increased online shopping by U.S. consumers boosted shipments from the Asia-Pacific region. Asia-Pacific airlines were responsible for almost half the increase in global cargo volume compared to October. The region’s air freight grew 2.4 percent month-to-month but was down 1.5 percent from November 2011.
North American carriers increased cargo traffic by 1.7 percent and cut capacity by 0.6 percent from November 2011. European airlines’ year-on-year volume was flat, and capacity was up just 0.3 percent.
Middle Eastern airlines posted the strongest year-on-year growth, up 16 percent on 6.1 percent extra capacity.
Latin American air freight grew 4.2 percent while capacity grew almost twice as fast, up 8.5 percent.