2018 ended with a “double whammy” of falling volumes and declining yields following the strong start of the year, WorldACD reports.
Air cargo volumes for the year were up 2.2% compared to 2017, with growth of 3.7% between January and August, which WorldACD says was good considering how strong 2017 had been.
From September to December, it says things looked “much less positive”, with volumes decreasing 0.6%.
The last week of 2018 was “particularly worrisome” with volumes down 10% on 2017, with larger regions such as Asia Pacific, Europe and North America dropping by larger percentages than smaller markets.
For the market in the limelight, China/Hong Kong to the US was down 3.6% in December, which was better than China/Hong Kong to the world, down 4.8%.
In the opposite direction the picture was different, USA to the world was down 3.4% but declined 8% to China/Hong Kong.
Negative volume growth and lower yield growth pushed down December airline revenue 5.6% in US dollars and 1.9% in Euros.
Between January and August, US dollar yields increased 15% year-on-year but slid down to 4.2% between September and December.
WorldACD says this was in line with fluctuations in the oil markets, with jet fuel becoming rapidly more expensive in the months leading up to September whilst going down in the later part of the year.
A significant development in 2018 was the recovery of origin Central and South America, with outgoing volumes increasing 8.4% and US dollar revenue growing 16%.
Among the air cargo categories, pharmaceuticals lead the way with 14.8% growth, followed by dangerous goods and vulnerable/high tech at 7.7% each while perishables were down 0.2%.