IATA: Air cargo improving after slow start to year

IATA director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac

The air cargo industry has improved since the slow start to the year, with all regions except Latin America seeing freight tonne kilometre (FTKs) growth in August though load factors remain at historic lows.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says FTKs are up 3.9 per cent in August though available FTKs rose 4.1 per cent, pushing load factors down a further 0.1 percentage points to 40.8 per cent, keeping yields under pressure.

IATA director general and chief executive officer (CEO), Alexandre de Juniac says though air cargo demand has been strong, world trade volumes are struggling and political rhetoric advocating protectionism is concerning.

The CEO says: “August numbers showed improvements in cargo demand. While this is good news, the underlying market conditions make it difficult to have long-term optimism. World trade volumes fell by 1.1 per cent in July with no improvement on the horizon.”

And the current global political rhetoric in much of the world is more focused on protectionism than trade promotion. Economies need to grow out of the current economic doldrums. Governments should be focused on promoting trade, not raising protectionist barriers.”

IATA says that Asia-Pacific cargo has seen strong growth while North America grew at the fastest pace since the US seaport disruption in early 2015 though the strong dollar continues to hit exports.

In Europe, German exports have been strong while the Middle East has seen its slowest growth since July 2009 at just 1.8 per cent due to slower growth to and from Asia because of strong European competition on the Europe – Asia route.

Latin America continues to struggle due to economic and political problems, particularly in Brazil while Africa saw the fastest growth in 12 months but overcapacity remains a major cause for concern.