IATA: July sees possible sea change in freight demand

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The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) July cargo traffic figures suggest an upsurge in demand for freight services.

Measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), cargo traffic rose by 5.8 per cent year-on-year in July, double the 2.4 per cent year-on-year improvement seen in June. Global air cargo volumes were also up on the previous peak figure for a July, which was recorded in 2010. IATA says it expects the positive trend to continue.

IATA director general and chief executive officer, Tony Tyler, described the July data as “good news”, and figures that reflect “the continued strengthening of business confidence at a global level”. On a regional breakdown, Asia Pacific cargo carriers did particularly well, enjoying their highest rise in volumes since the start of last year. IATA attributes the improvement in cargo volumes carried by Far Eastern carriers to growing trade through, and confidence in, the Asia Pacific region. The poor performer was Europe. Freight traffic through the continent was adversely affected by the crisis in Ukraine. 

Tyler says: “The air cargo industry is moving at two speeds with a sharp divide in regional performance. European carriers reported anaemic growth of just 1.8 per cent, while all other regions reported solid gains of five per cent or more on the previous year. The 7.1 per cent growth reported by Asia Pacific airlines demonstrates a recovery in trade and a positive response to China’s  economic stimulus measures.” 

Over the January to July period of this year, cargo traffic carried by IATA member airlines rose by 4.4 per cent over the same period of 2013, while available capacity was up by 3.5 per cent. The load factor averaged 45.2 per cent over those seven months. Given that July’s freight load factor was 44.4 per cent, it is clear there remains a good deal of unwanted capacity.

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