October cargo figures paint gloomy picture


Airports Council International (ACI) World reports that global passenger traffic grew by +2.3% in October, slightly less than the +2.6% rate recorded in September.

At the same time, against a global economic backdrop that remains quite challenging, the decline in the global air freight industry continued in October, falling by -2.9% on a year-over-year basis. This was a slight improvement over September’s figure of -4% and was quite close to the industry’s year-to-date result which stands at -3%.

“A weakened freight industry and a moderation in passenger traffic growth was recorded in October which was mostly a continuation of the general trend in 2019,” ACI World director general Angela Gittens said. “The domestic freight market managed a slight recovery but with the volatile trade environment still present in the global stage, end-of-year results could go either way.”

The possibility of a decline in total freight volumes by year’s end, due primarily to international freight performance, however, is fairly assured.

ACI collects and analyses data from a significant sample of airports that provide regular reports on month-by-month passenger and air freight statistics; this forms part of the world’s most comprehensive source for airport data.

October figures showed a slight improvement over September for the freight industry, with the domestic segment posting positive growth during the period. Global freight volumes declined by -2.9% but the domestic market reached +0.7% on a year-over-year basis, maintaining year-to-date results in the positive, at +0.6%. As with September, Europe experienced the least significant decline among the major markets in October. The region’s freight volumes declined by -1.4%, bringing its year-to-date figure to -2.7%.

North America performed similarly on a year-over-year basis, declining by -1.5%. Its year-to-date growth rate remained higher, however, at -0.3% with two months left to the year. The region’s domestic market remained in the positive, at +2.9% on a year-to-date basis, but its international market is now drawing closer to the decline experienced by Asia-Pacific, at -4.9%. The latter fell by -4% in October, bringing its year-to-date growth rate to -5.5%.

Both domestic and international segments remained in the negative in Asia-Pacific, though its international freight market suffered the brunt of the losses, reaching -6.2% on a year-to-date basis.

In line with the global downtrend, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America-Caribbean all posted declines in October. The results were less severe than in September for the first two, however, with these regions declining by -3.4% and -4% respectively. Latin America-Caribbean performed much worse, losing -8% on a year-over-year basis. By the end of the month, all of these regions stood at a negative rate for the first ten months of the year; Africa reached -0.2%, while the two other regions were both at -3.1%.