Regional carriers saw a 3.1 percent fall in cargo volume in September from a year ago, deepening the contraction so far this year to 2.1 percent.
But a positive sign for the future is the apparent easing of the pressure from regional economic weakness. China’s GDP growth in particular has picked up slightly. Regional capacity grew 1.3 percent, leaving load factors at 55.5 percent.
“The story behind September’s performance is regional. The leveling-off of global volumes was a result of the growth rate in Europe and the Middle East moderating after recent acceleration, while Asia-Pacific airlines saw a deepening of the market weakness,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
Globally, IATA figures show that cargo growth was stabilizing in September following recent months of slow but steady growth. Volumes grew by 0.5 percent year-on-year. While this was slower that the 3.4 percent growth recorded for August, overall air cargo volumes are at a 25-month high, and steady increases in the size of the market since April have been supported by improvements in business conditions, the association said.
September performance was heavily influenced by a moderation of freight growth in the Middle East, which has carried much of the rises of recent months. Asia-Pacific freight continued to decline, while Europe demonstrated a modest rise.
“At a global level, the September results are aligned with our expectations for an improvement towards the end of the year. All indicators still point to strengthening business confidence as we approach the final quarter. That’s cause for cautious optimism. But the persistent cargo weakness when compared to the strength of passenger markets is a signal for the industry to work at improving its value proposition,” Tyler said.