Freight continues to suffer from a number of different negative factors including trade wars and slow economic growth.

Freight growth

Air freight demand has made a slow start to the peak season, according to the latest analysis from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Freight demand—measured in available freight tonne kilometers (FTKs)—fell 3.5% in October, compared to a year ago. It is the 12th consecutive month of year-on-year decline.

Meanwhile, capacity—measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs)—outstripped demand for the 18th month in a row as it rose by 2.2% in October, compared to the same period in 2018.

Demand is set to decline in 2019 overall. It has been a very tough year for the air cargo industry

IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said that it had been “a very tough year” for those in the air freight industry.

Air cargo continues to suffer from a number of different negative factors, including the US-China trade war, an overall deterioration in global trade, and slowing economic growth across the board.

“Air cargo’s peak season is off to a disappointing start, with demand down 3.5% in October,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.   

“Demand is set to decline in 2019 overall—the weakest annual outcome since the global financial crisis. It has been a very tough year for the air cargo industry.” 

In the regional markets, only Africa recorded growth in air freight demand. Airlines in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East suffered a sharp deterioration in year-on-year growth, while Latin American and European carriers felt a more moderate decline.

See the breakdown by region below:

  • Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight contract by 5.3% in October 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. Capacity increased by 0.6%.
  • North American airlines saw demand decrease by 2.4% in October 2019, compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 3.1%.   
  • European airlines posted a 1.5% decrease in freight demand in October 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier – a significant improvement over the 3.5% decrease in September. Capacity increased by 2.8% year-on-year.  
  • Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes decreased 6.0% in October 2019 compared to the year-ago period. This was the sharpest drop in freight demand of any region for the month. Capacity increased by 0.9%.
  • Latin American airlines experienced a decrease in freight demand in October 2019 of 2.6% compared to the same period last year. Capacity increased by 2.3% year-on-year.
  • African carriers posted the fastest growth of any region in October 2019, with an increase in demand of 12.6% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity grew 13.9% year-on-year.
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