Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Air cargo books highest 1H growth in 7 years

Global air freight demand grew by 10.4% in the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“This was the strongest first half-year performance since air cargo’s rebound from the Global Financial Crisis in 2010 and nearly triple the industry’s average growth rate of 3.9% over the last five years,” said IATA in a release.

Freight capacity grew by 3.6% in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Demand growth continues to significantly outstrip capacity growth, which is positive for yields.

Meanwhile, year-on-year demand growth in June increased 11%, while freight capacity grew by 5.2%.

“The sustained growth of air freight demand is consistent with an improvement in global trade, with new global export orders remaining close to a six-year high,” said IATA.

But it noted some signs that the cyclical growth period may have peaked, such as a halt in the fall of global inventory-to-sales ratio. This indicates that the period when companies look to restock inventories quickly, which often gives air cargo a boost, may be nearing an end.

“Regardless of these developments, the outlook for air freight is optimistic with demand expected to grow at a robust rate of 8% during the third quarter of this year,” said the organization.

“Air cargo is flying high on the back of a stronger global economy. Demand is growing at a faster pace than at any time since the Global Financial Crisis,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

All regions experienced positive freight growth in the first half of 2017. Carriers in Asia-Pacific and Europe accounted for two-thirds of the increase in demand.

For Asia-Pacific airlines, freight volumes grew 10.1% in June 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 and capacity grew by 7.8%. This contributed to a growth in freight demand of 10.1% in the first half of 2017 compared to the first half of 2016.

Seasonally adjusted international freight volumes for these carriers are now 4% above the level reached in 2010 following the global financial crisis bounce-back. Demand growth has been strongest, between 13% and 15%, on international routes within Asia as well as between Asia and Europe. Capacity in the region increased 4.8% in the first half of 2017.

North American carriers saw freight demand increase by 12.7% in June 2017 year-on-year and capacity increase by 3%. This contributed to strong growth in demand in the first half of 2017 of 9.3% in contrast to the negative growth seen during the same period in 2016.

European airlines posted a 14.3% year-on-year increase in freight demand in June 2017 and a capacity rise of 6.1%. The healthy results helped boost cargo volumes for the first half of 2017 by 13.6%.

Middle Eastern carriers’ freight volumes increased 3.7% year-on-year in June 2017 and capacity increased 2.2%. This contributed to an increase in demand in the first half of 2017 of 7.6%, well below the 10.8% average annual rate seen over the past five years.

Latin American airlines experienced a growth in demand of 9.8% in June 2017 compared to the same period in 2016—the fastest since November 2010—and an increase in capacity of 2.9%. June’s positive results contributed to the region posting a marginal increase in demand of 0.3% for the first half of 2017.

African carriers had the fastest growth in year-on-year freight volumes, up 31.6% in June 2017 and a capacity increase of 7.6%. This contributed to freight demand growing 25.9% in the first half of 2017—the fastest of all regions.

Photo: Karelj

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