IATA: October growth signals start to strong fourth quarter

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Airfreight volumes have grown by 5.9 per cent in October, which the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says signals a strong start to the fourth quarter.

The association says though October was slower than the annual growth of 9.2 per cent in September, it was still above the annual average of 3.2 per cent seen over the past decade.

Over good news is capacity in available tonne kilometres (AFTK) rose 3.7 per cent, marking the 15th consecutive month where demand growth outstripped capacity, which is positive for load factors, yields and financial performance.

IATA director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac says: “Demand for air freight grew by 5.9 per cent in October.  And tightening supply conditions in the fourth quarter should see the air cargo industry deliver its strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis rebound in 2010.”

The association also says though demand remains strong, indicators show the industry may have passed the growth peak, with inventory-to-sales ratio in the US tracking sideways suggesting that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly has ended.

It also says new export orders component of the global Purchasing Managers’ Index is stable, and the upward trend in seasonally adjusted freight volumes has moderated.

Freight volumes are still expected to grow in 2018, although at a slower pace than in 2017.

By region, Asia-Pacific grew 4.4 per cent helped by the region’s manufacturers continuing to enjoy buoyant order books, with major exporters in China and Japan reporting growing backlogs supported in part by stronger economic activity in Europe.

North America grew 6.6 per cent with the US dollar continuing to drive imports though affecting exports.

European airlines increased 6.4 per cent with export orders growing at the fastest pace in more than seven years, and demand proving very healthy on transatlantic routes and to and from Asia.

The Middle East was up 4.6 per cent with recent volatility due to developments in demand in 2016 rather than a marked change in current traffic trends.

Latin America grew 7.2 per cent helped by signs of recovery in Brazil, the region’s largest economy.

Africa posted the largest year-on-year increase of 30.3 per cent, though only represents 1.6 per cent of the world share, and demand was boosted by very strong growth on trade lanes to and from Asia.