IATA: Volumes and load factors keep tumbling in March

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IATA director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler July 2015

The airfreight market has faced another challenging month in March with freight tonne kilometres (FTK) falling by two per cent while load factors keep tumbling, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports.

The results have been exaggerated by the comparison with a particularly strong start to 2015 when airfreight received a boost due to the US West Coast seaport disruption. Europe and the Middle East were the only regions of the world to see an increase in FTKs in March, up 1.3 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively. Latin America saw the biggest decline, down 5.9 per cent, followed by Asia Pacific at 5.2 per cent. African FTKs were down 3.1 per cent and North America declined by 1.8 per cent.

IATA director general and chief executive officer, Tony Tyler says: “It is shaping up to be another tough year for air cargo. February 2016 world trade volumes were only 0.4% higher than at the end of 2014. And the expectations of purchasing managers gives little optimism for an early uptick.

“The combination of fierce competition, capacity increases and stagnant demand makes this a very difficult environment in which to generate profits.”

The industry continues to struggle with overcapacity, with the worldwide load factor falling by four percentage points to 43.5 per cent. It remains highest in Asia Pacific at 52.5 per cent, but that is a year-on-year drop of five percentage points, and lowest in Africa at 25.9 per cent, down 6.9 percentage points.