Asia-Pacific carriers reported a 3.8 percent tonnage increase in January year-over-year as demand from Europe and North America for Asian manufactured goods rebounded, according to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This was a significant improvement over the 1 percent contraction in the same month in 2013.
But IATA cautioned that the Chinese economy could be heading toward a slowdown that could impact air cargo in the coming months. “In addition, with Chinese New Year falling on January 31, there may be some impact on February volumes.”
Globally, January saw a strong rise in airfreight growth, inching up 4.5 percent compared to last year. This is a significant acceleration on the 2.2 percent year-on-year growth rate recorded in December, and well above the 1.4 percent full-year growth reported for 2013 as compared to 2012.
Growth was solid across all regions, with Middle Eastern carriers growing the fastest at 10.7 percent. European airlines continued to benefit from Europe’s recovery from recession, posting a 6 percent growth.
“The improvement in demand is good news. It is a step up in pace from the mild strengthening that we saw towards the second half of 2013,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
He said volumes for the month were similar to the 2010 post-recession peak, but warned against being too optimistic.
“Protectionist measures are part of the reason for a slower expansion of world trade than we would expect from current levels of industrial production. Companies continue to re-organize supply chains in their efforts to move manufacturing onshore,” he added.