Global air cargo hits seven-year peak

Global air cargo hits seven-year peak

Air cargo volume expanded more than twice as fast as capacity in June.

Global air cargo traffic surged 10.4 percent year over year in the first half, the fastest rate since the industry rebounded from the global financial crisis in 2010, according to the International Air Transport Association.

All regions posted growth, with carriers in Europe and Asia-Pacific accounting for two thirds of the increase, which was nearly triple the annual average growth rate of 3.9 percent over the past five years, the industry body said.

Traffic grew 11 percent in June, according to IATA’s latest figures, more than double the 5.2 percent increase in freight capacity.

The sustained freight demand is consistent with an improvement in global trade, with new export orders remaining close to a six-year high, but there are some signs the cyclical growth period may have peaked.

However, the outlook remains optimistic with traffic expected to grow at a robust rate of 8 percent during the third quarter, IATA said.

“Air cargo is flying high on the back of a stronger global economy. Demand is growing at a faster pace than at any time since the global financial crisis,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“That’s great news after many years of stagnation. And even more importantly, the industry is taking advantage of this momentum to accelerate much-needed process modernization and improve the value it provides to its many customers.”

European airlines in June grew traffic by 14.3 percent — and capacity by 6.1 percent — for a first-half increase of 13.6 percent as the recent weakness of the euro has boosted exports.

Asia-Pacific carriers’ freight volume rose 10.1 percent in June complementing a first half increase of 10.1 percent that is being driven by strong demand on intra-Asia and Europe-Asia routes.

North American airlines boosted volume by 12.7 during the month and capacity by just 3 percent, while the first-half figures were 9.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Middle East carriers’ volume rose just 3.7 percent year over year in June, extending the slowdown triggered by strong competition from rival airlines particularly on the Asia-Europe route.

Latin America saw 9.8 percent growth, the highest since November 2010, but seasonally adjusted international volumes remain 10 percent below the peak in 2014 as the region is still “blighted” by weak economic and political conditions, particularly in its strongest economy, Brazil.

African freight traffic soared 31.6 percent in June and 25.9 percent in the first half, driven mainly by a 60 percent surge in the first five months on trade lanes to and from Asia.

Contact Bruce Barnard at brucebarnard47@hotmail.com.