Air freight volumes were up just 2.1 per cent in May compared to a year ago, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
This is down on the April result of 3.9 per cent and well below the annual growth rate of 4.7 per cent seen in 2014. IATA figures show that overall freight tonne kilometres (FTK) rose by 2.6 per cent, year on year (YOY).
The association says that the figures confirm some slowdown in cargo growth, which is consistent with developments in trade activity and weakness in some emerging markets. It cites, “adverse developments in Asia Pacific,” as the main reason for the flattening.
Carriers in Asia Pacific recorded a 2.8 per cent rise in FTKs in May YOY. IATA says that the region has experienced notable slowdown in imports and exports over recent months, but points to April’s recovery in Asia exports as a cause for some optimism. In the Middle East, carriers continue to show strong growth, with a YOY rise of 18.1 per cent in May reflecting ongoing expansion in capacity and networks, as well as trade with Middle Eastern economies.
Europe fared less well in May. Volumes fell by 1.3 per cent. IATA says that, “recent improvements in business confidence in the Eurozone have yet to translate into increased demand for airfreight, and consumer confidence remains subdued.”
In the US, May volumes fell by 2.9 per cent YOY. A better economic performance is expected in the second quarter, due to the impact of bad weather, falling oil prices and US sea port congestion. This should boost demand for air freight. It was a disappointing month for Latin America, with volumes down by 10.5 per cent. Improvements to regional economies are yet to be reflected in volumes. African airlines, which account for a small proportion of global FTKs, saw YOY volumes up by three per cent in May.