IATA: Industry must not rest on laurels despite 13% growth in May

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IATA director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac

Airfreight has grown 12.7 per cent in May but the industry must not rest on its laurels despite the positive outlook, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says.

Freight tonne kilometres (FTK) grew 12.7 per cent year-on-year in May, up from 8.7 per cent in April, and more than three times the five-year average growth rate of 3.8 per cent.

Capacity in available FTKs increased 5.2 per cent in May and global load factors rose three percentage points to 45.2 per cent.

The association says the growth is consistent with an improvement in world trade, with global export orders remaining close to a six-year high in May but the global inventory-to-sales ratio is rising, indicating the period when companies look to re-stock inventories quickly, which often gives air cargo a boost, has ended.

The outlook remains optimistic and demand is expected to grow eight per cent in the third quarter.

IATA director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac says: “May was another good month for air cargo. Demand growth accelerated, bolstered by strong export orders. And that outpaced capacity growth which should be positive for yields. But the industry can’t afford to rest on its laurels.”

“With indications that the cyclical growth period may have peaked, the onus is on the industry to improve its value proposition by accelerating process modernisation and enhancing customer-centricity.”

All regions of the world saw growth in May, with Africa leading the way at 27.6 per cent, though it only represents 1.6 per cent of the world share.

Latin America grew at the fastest pace since July 2014 but IATA says the figures mainly reflect the fact May 2016 was a low-point for seasonally adjusted traffic last year rather than sustained strong recovery.