IATA: Weak trade keeps dragging down air cargo

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IATA director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac

May proved to be another difficult month for airfreight, with global demand falling 3.4% as weak global trade continues to be an issue, IATA reports.

The fall in freight tonne kilometres (FTK) in May was a slight improvement in April, when demand contracted by 5.6%.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that seasonally-adjusted FTKs increased modestly for the third consecutive month suggesting the low point of the cycle may be over, but the market remains weak.

Capacity measured in available FTK rose by 1.3% year-on-year in May, outstripping demand growth for the 13th consecutive month.

The weak demand has been blamed on very weak global trade volumes and trade tensions between the US and China.

IATA says this has contributed to declining new export orders, the indicator for new manufacturing export orders, which has indicated falling orders since September 2018.

Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA says: “It’s evidence of the economic damage that is done when barriers to trade are erected. Renewed efforts to ease the trade tensions coming on the sidelines of the G20 meeting are welcome.

“But even if those efforts are successful in the short-term, restoring business confidence and growing trade will take time. And we can expect the tough business environment for air cargo to continue.”