The peak season has got off to a weak start with demand falling 3.5% in October, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports.
The fall in freight tonne kilometres was the 12th consecutive month of year-on-year declines, and is not a good start to the traditional peak season.
Air cargo has suffered from the effects of the trade war between the US and China, the deterioration in global trade and slow economic growth.
Capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometres rose by 2.2% year-on-year in October, the 18th consecutive month it outstripped demand growth.
Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA says: “Air cargo’s peak season is off to a disappointing start, with demand down 3.5% in October. Demand is set to decline in 2019 overall – the weakest annual outcome since the global financial crisis. It has been a very tough year for the air cargo industry.”
Around the world, Africa was the only area to grow, the declines in Europe, Latin America and North America were moderate, but more serious in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
Africa was up 12.6% helped by strong trade and investment links with Asia.
Europe was down 1.5% with better than expected economic activity in the third quarter in several large economies.
North America declined 2.4% due to the strength of the US economy helping domestic services, making up for international performance being impacted by trade tensions with China.
Latin America fell 2.6% as social and economic headwinds in key economies impacted performance.
Asia-Pacific demand was down 5.3% with US-China and South Korea-Japan trade wars affecting the region, and disruption in Hong Kong continuing to impact activity.
Middle Eastern volumes fell 6% due to operational and geopolitical challenges facing key airlines.