Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Air cargo sustains robust upswing

The strong growth in air cargo markets for more than half a year now persisted into June and enabled the second quarter of 2017 to present the best quarter for the industry in almost seven years, according to new data released by WorldACD.

June volumes rose 10.5% year-over-year, accompanied by an increase in direct ton kilometers of 12%, showing that the average distance between origin and destination of shipments continues to increase.

And yield worldwide, measured in U.S. dollars, was 7% higher in June, stopping its 2015-2016 free fall and marking a positive development not seen since the recovery of 2010-2011, said the air cargo research service.

In the second quarter of 2017, the origins Germany and Hong Kong grew most in absolute kilograms. The highest volume increase in percentage was made by the market from Turkey to the Middle East & South Asia, which grew 54%. It was followed by the markets from Belgium to Asia-Pacific (50%) and from Belgium to North America (46%). In general, load factors increased, as capacity growth was clearly lower than the increase in volumes in all regions.

Whereas the first quarter showed stable year-on-year yields, the second quarter posted a remarkable yield improvement year-on-year of 5.4% in dollar terms, and of 8.1% in euros. Yield improvements in Q2 were particularly visible in markets with an origin in Asia-Pacific. Yields ex China grew even harder than those from other countries in the region.

The report observed that positive yield and volume developments seemed to go hand in hand: from Asia-Pacific to North America, growth of each was around 20%, and from Asia-Pacific to Europe around 15%. A prominent element in the growth of both volumes and yields between Asia and North America was the modest capacity increase.

WorldACD said the year-on-year yield performance in Q2 may be explained partly by movements in fuel prices and surcharges: fuel prices were about 10% higher year-on-year. Past experience showed that yields in air cargo usually react to fuel price developments with a time delay.

June also showed how air cargo and geopolitics can be intertwined as the transport of perishables to Qatar increased well beyond the overall growth pattern of this sector of the business.

“As a matter of fact, June confirmed the trend we reported earlier, which shows general cargo growing faster than most specific product categories; only pharma grows faster than general cargo,” noted the report. “It also confirmed that the average shipment size is growing year-on-year: by more than 8% in June and by almost 7% for the first half of the year.”

Photo: Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0

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