Asia-Pacific airlines realized a hefty 4.9 percent growth in demand for November 2013 over the same month last year— more than doubling the 1.8 percent growth of October and indicating broader airfreight improvements in the coming months, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The expansion was fueled by a rebound in Asian trade volumes and the improving Chinese economy.
Stronger demand for Asian manufactured consumer goods in North America and Europe has also supported the rise in Asian trade and airfreight volumes.
“The November results are encouraging—particularly for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. “This good news is largely being driven by improving economic prospects in China along with an overall boost on Asian trade routes.”
The improved performance by the regional carriers, which account for some 40 percent of the global market, was in line with an overall increase in airfreight volumes for the month.
IATA figures indicate that international and domestic air cargo volumes expanded 6.1 percent in November 2013 year-over-year. The month’s performance is likewise an improvement on the 4.4 percent year-over-year demand expansion recorded in October.
“This continues an improvement trend in the weak air cargo markets which has been developing over 2013,” IATA said.
All regions reported growth except for Latin America and Africa which posted a slight year-on-year contraction. The strongest performing region was the Middle East where carriers reported a 16.5 percent improvement.
European airlines also registered a demand expansion, seeing a steady but fragile improvement in recent months as Europe pulled away from economic contraction in 2013.
North American carriers similarly logged higher volumes as the manufacturing sector’s performance has been picking up in recent months, recovering from any adverse impacts of the government shutdown in October.
Healthy demand coupled with a slower expansion in capacity helped to improve the global air cargo’s November average load factor to 49.2 percent, which is 0.7 percentage points above the previous November.
Year-to-date, air cargo tonnage grew 1.4 percent.
Tyler said that the uptick was a welcome development in a weak-performing market. “Overall volumes, when adjusted for seasonality, are still below the peaks reached in 2010 and 2011.”
Photo: Pieter v Marion