Home » Aviation, Breaking News » Air cargo up 8% in Jan but growth seen to taper off

Air freight demand rose 8.0% in January 2018 compared to the year-earlier period, and is up from the 5.8% annual growth recorded in December 2017, a robust start to the new year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The continued positive momentum in freight growth into 2018 reflects the fact that demand drivers for air cargo remain supportive, said IATA.

Global demand for manufacturing exports is buoyant and meeting this strong demand is leading to longer supply chain delivery times. Demand for air cargo may strengthen as a result, with companies seeking faster delivery times to make up for longer production times.

“With 8% growth in January, it’s been a solid start to 2018 for air cargo. That follows an exceptional year in which demand grew by 9%. We expect demand for air cargo to taper to a more normal 4.5% growth rate for 2018,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

All regions reported an increase in demand in January 2018.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand grow 7.7% in January 2018 and capacity increase by 2.2%, compared to the same period in 2017. The increase largely reflects the ongoing strong demand experienced by the region’s major exporters, China and Japan, which has been driven in part by a pick-up in economic activity in Europe. However, the upward trend in seasonally adjusted volumes has paused.

North American airlines’ freight volumes expanded 7.5% in January 2018 year-on-year. The strength of the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar has improved the inbound freight market in recent years.

European airlines posted a 10.5% increase in freight volumes in January 2018. The strong European performance corresponds with a very healthy demand for new export orders among the region’s manufacturers. Seasonally adjusted volumes jumped 3% in month-on-month terms in January—the largest increase since March 2017.

Middle Eastern carriers’ freight volumes increased 4.4% year-on-year in January 2018, the slowest growth of all regions, as the region’s carriers remain affected by the ongoing challenging political environment in the Middle East.

Latin American airlines experienced a growth in demand of 8.0% in January. The pick-up in demand comes alongside signs of economic recovery in the region’s largest economy, Brazil.

African carriers saw freight demand increase by 12.9% in January 2018 compared to the same month last year. The increase was helped by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia, with volume expanding by 59% in 2017 following an increase in the number of direct flights between the continents.

Photo: Alf van Beem

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