Last year could have seen overall growth of 4.5 per cent, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general and chief executive officer, Tony Tyler, in the association’s airfreight market analysis for November 2014.
The previous year, 2013, saw 1.4 per cent growth from January to November for freight tonne kilometres (FTK) for the total market.
For January to November 2014, the total market FTK growth has been 4.4 per cent. Tyler, says: “That optimism is tempered by the many macro-economic and political risks that continue to impact trade flows.”
In November 2014, the total market FTK growth was 4.2 per cent compared to the same month in 2013. This was down on October when the total market FTK grew 5.4 per cent. In November, the Middle East had the fastest growth at 12.9 per cent with Africa coming second at 10.3 per cent. However, that continent only carries a small part of the world’s airfreight.
The FTK in Asia Pacific in November grew by 5.9 per cent Combined, the Middle East and Asia Pacific growth constituted 93 per cent of the global increase. Tyler, says: “It was clear in November that most of the growth is being captured by carriers in the dynamic and relatively business friendly Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.” Despite the apparent surge in growth, the fall from October to November could be a cause of concern.
IATA says weakness in airfreight is usually one of the first signs of economic weakness. Last week’s fall of the oil price to below $50 could be the result of a coming slow down in the world economy, according to public statments by banking economists. IATA does add that the slowdown was, “not by much,” qualifying its concerns.
More broadly, IATA’s analysis is that the North American economies are strong, but FTK volumes have remained flat despite West Coast port congestion shifting demand from sea to air.
It also thinks that Europe remains weak due to concerns about more problems in the Eurozone and Russia’s recession. IATA’s view of Latin America is that it is struggling, mainly because of economic problems in Brazil and Argentina. Meanwhile, overcapacity continues to remain a problem, with available FTK (AFTK) rising faster than FTK in the Middle East and Europe in November.
In the Middle East, AFTK increased by 17.1 per cent, with Asia Pacific seeing the next biggest rise of four per cent. AFTK rose by 2.6 per cent in Europe, but FTK only increased by 0.9 per cent. Africa saw the biggest cut in capacity, with AFTK falling by 2.9 per cent in November. In North America, AFTK fell by 2.6 per cent and in Latin America it was cut by 0.5 per cent.