Air cargo demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), grew 3.8% in 2016 compared with 2015. This was nearly double the industry’s average growth rate of 2.0% over the last five years.
However, freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), increased 5.3%.
All regions, with the exception of Latin America, experienced positive freight growth in 2016.
Carriers in Europe accounted for almost half of the total annual increase in demand.
“In terms of demand, 2016 was a good year for air cargo,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “That was boosted by solid year-end performance.
"Looking ahead, strong export orders are good news. But there are headwinds.
"The most significant is stagnant world trade which also faces the risk of protectionist measures. Governments must not forget that trade is a powerful tool for growth and prosperity.
“The air cargo industry must also improve its competitiveness,” he continued.
“We know that the way forward is defined by digital processes which will drive efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.
"We must use the momentum of renewed demand growth to drive the important innovations of the e-cargo vision.”
Cargo demand figures by region:
Asia-Pacific carriers posted freight demand growth of 2.1% in 2016. Capacity in the region increased 3.6% in 2016.
North American airlines saw modest annual growth in 2016 of 2.0%. Capacity grew 3.4% in 2016.
European airlines posted an increase in cargo volumes of 7.6%. Capacity in the region increased 6.7%.
Middle Eastern carriers saw an increase in demand of 6.9% in 2016. Capacity grew 8.4%.
Latin American airlines region’s 2016 overall performance - a 4.2% decrease in freight volumes. Capacity in the region decreased 2.0% in 2016.
African carriers’ annual growth in freight demand was 3.1% in 2016. However, capacity surged 25.5%