International air cargo traffic grew 5.4 percent in April but the gain lagged behind rapidly expanding capacity and behind growth in world trade, according to the International Air Transport Association said.
Global air freight capacity rose 12.3 percent in April over the same month a year ago, depressing the load factor to 51.9 percent from 55.3 percent in April 2010.
The April increase was the best since January, following a 3.7 percent gain in March and 2.3 percent in February.
This left international cargo traffic 4.3 percent up in the first four months of the year compared with the same period in 2010.
Although world trade has been expanding at an annualized rate of 10 percent, air freight volume is down 6 percent from its post-recession peak in May 2010, IATA said.
“After the restocking boom, demand returned to more normal levels,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA secretary general and CEO.
The gap was especially strong in the Asia-Pacific, where cargo capacity expanded 4.4 percent but traffic contracted 2.5 percent due to supply chain interruptions after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and slower growth in China.
European traffic posted year-on-year growth of 13.4 percent on a 20.4 percent expansion in capacity while North American demand grew 7.9 percent over last year on a 15.3 percent increase in capacity.