Asia-Pacific airlines posted a marginal but significant improvement in airfreight volume in October, halting a downward trajectory over most of 2013 that augurs well for the regional carriers as a new year approaches, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Asian cargo throughput grew by 2 percent in October year-over-year, benefiting from a trade resurgence across the region, robust export and import volumes in emerging Asian markets, and a stronger Chinese economy where manufacturing activity hit a seven-month high.
“The pick-up in Chinese growth and trade volumes across the region indicates that Asia-Pacific, which is comfortably the largest airfreight region by market share, is potentially poised for continued expansion,” IATA said.
Globally, airfreight showed a 4 percent increase in volume in October from the same month last year, continuing on the gradual upward trend that has been monitored since the third quarter of 2013.
Growth was noted in all regions except Africa, as the airfreight market responded to better economic confidence and improved consumer demand, said IATA.
The strongest growth was in the Middle East, but Europe also showed healthy improvement. Together they have carried three quarters of the cargo increase over the past six months.
“Since mid-year we have seen modest but sustained growth in cargo fed by stronger business confidence and improving trade flows,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
He added: “Air cargo is still a very tough business. Matching capacity to demand has been difficult in an environment where passenger traffic is growing more robustly. There is some evidence that the fall in load factors has stabilized, but yields remain under pressure.”
Photo: Pieter v Marion