The July figure trailed the 26.6 percent year-on-year increase in June shipments in part because the market was starting to recover by July 2009, the Geneva-based airline industry body said in its latest monthly report.
After adjusting for seasonal factors, the improvement in demand in July was faster month-to-month in July than it was in June.
Cargo traffic in July was 4 percent above the pre-recession peak of early 2008. But “it is clear that the recovery has entered a slower pace,” IATA said.
During the second half of 2009 cargo demand was rebounding at an annualized rate of 28 percent but has slowed to 17 percent in the first seven months of 2010.
“The recovery in demand has been faster than anticipated. But, as we look towards the end of the year the pace of recovery likely will slow,” said IATA Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Bisignani.
The extraordinary freight growth rates in late 2009 and early 2010 were supported by businesses re-stocking their inventories, IATA said.
With the re-stocking cycle completed, air freight demand will be driven by consumer spending and businesses capital expenditure.
Weak consumer confidence in Europe and North America will be a negative factor, but strengthening corporate profits are supporting an increase in capacity expenditure that could continue to drive robust freight growth.
The two speed recovery in air cargo continued into July, according to IATA, with European carriers growing by a “weak” 12.1 percent from a year ago, less than half the 25.3 percent increase by Asia/Pacific airlines and the 27.1 percent year-on-year growth recorded by North American carriers.
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