May sees worldwide freight fall

Aerial view of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Cargo volumes in May fell year on year (YOY) at 15 of the world’s 30 busiest airports by total tonnage, according to the Airports Council International (ACI).

The airport association revealed the figures in its FreightFlash statistics for May, which are based on preliminary data and cover 70 per cent of the total airfreight traffic across the globe.

ACI says in May, total YOY cargo growth dipped to a one year low of 1.3 per cent. International tonnage was up YOY by 1.7 per cent and domestic was up YOY by 0.3 per cent.

The year to date (YTD) total airfreight volumes from January to May is up YOY by 3.8 per cent. International YTD cargo is up so far this year by 4.6 per cent and domestic freight by two per cent.

On a 12-month rolling basis, total volumes are up YOY by 4.7 per cent. International cargo is up YOY by 5.5 per cent and domestic rose by 2.9 per cent.

ACI explains that the weak growth in airfreight coupled with significant declines in major international airfreight hubs, “raises concerns,” about the second half of the year.

“The weaker than expected economic performance of Europe and the slowdown of international exports from Asia signal ongoing trepidations,” ACI adds.

May’s performance is down on April, when volumes rose YOY by 3.3 per cent. In March, there was a YOY rise of 1.4 per cent. In February there was a YOY rise of 10.4 per cent as airfreight was boosted by the US West coast seaports slowdown.


Africa had the strongest surge in volumes and saw an increase of 10.3 per cent in May, which ACI says was driven by 9.4 per cent and 15.9 per cent YOY rises at O. R. Tambo International Airport and Mohammed V International Airport.

In May, domestic cargo within Africa rose significantly YOY by 21.6 per cent. The Middle East is outpacing Asia Pacific with 4.4 per cent versus 1.6 per cent growth in total airfreight volumes, while North America and Latin America each show 1.1 per cent YOY growth for the month.