Air cargo demand fell 4.7% in April, continuing the negative trend that began in January, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports.
Brexit-related trade uncertainty in Europe and trade tensions between the US and China both contributed to declining new export orders.
In month-on-month terms, export orders have increased only three times in the past 15 months and the global measure has been indicating negative export demand since September.
Capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometres grew by 2.6% in April, and has now outpaced demand for the last 12 months.
Air cargo volumes have been volatile in 2019, due to the timing of Chinese New Year and Easter, but the trend is clearly downwards, with volumes 3% below the August 2018 peak.
Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA says that while demand has declined, cost inputs are rising, trade tensions are affecting confidence and global trade is weakening.
He says: “Airlines are adjusting their capacity growth to try and fall into line with the dip in global trade since the end of 2018. It all adds up to a challenging year ahead for the cargo business. Governments should respond by easing trade barriers in order to drive economic activity.”