IATA: Airfreight growth slows in April but still up 8.5%

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IATA director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac

Global airfreight growth slowed in April but freight tonne kilometres still rose by 8.5 per cent, well above the five year average, International Air Transport Association (IATA) data shows.

The April figure is down on the 13.4 per cent growth seen in March but well above the 3.5 per cent five year average, and all regions performed well except Latin America.

IATA says business confidence indicators remain upbeat, suggesting growth will remain robust for the second quarter, but there are signs that the cyclical growth peak has passed, but air cargo is projected to grow 7.5 per cent over the year, supported by pharmaceuticals and e-commerce.

IATA director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac says: “Demand eased in April. Growth rates, however, are still much more robust than anything we have seen in the last six years. That’s good news, but it should not be taken as a message that all is well in air cargo.”

“The industry’s antiquated processes need modernisation. With e-air waybill utilisation topping 50 per cent in April, progress is being made. And we must harness the momentum to drive transformational change across the way the industry operates.”

Africa saw the largest growth of 26 per cent, with demand to and from Asia up 55 per cent, and capacity increased 17.7 per cent, the load factors remain the lowest in the world at 23.6 per cent.

European airlines grew 12.9 per cent with the weak Euro boosting export orders, and capacity increased 6.9 per cent.

Asia Pacific expanded 8.4 per cent helped by strong exports, and North America was up 7.3 per cent, though IATA says it is hard to tell if this will last. The strong US dollar has continued to help imports but exports remain under pressure.

Middle Eastern growth slowed to 3.1 per cent, compared to 16.3 per cent in March, as traffic to Asia weakens but Europe remains strong.

Latin America contracted again, this time by 1.9 per cent, and demand is now 18 per cent lower than 2014, though carriers have adjusted capacity, limiting the impact on load factors.