Trade tensions across the world continue to affect the air freight industry.

Air freight

Latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show that global air freight demand fell 4.8% in June compared to the year previous.

Demand—measured in freight tonne kilometers—suffered the eighth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in cargo figures.

Trade tensions, most notably between the US and China, continue to have a significant detrimental effect on air freight.

Nobody wins a trade war. Borders that are open to trade spread sustained prosperity

IATA said that “signs of a modest recovery in recent months appear to have been premature” as all regions except Africa saw a decrease in trade by air.

Capacity—measured in available freight tonne kilometers—grew 2.6% in June compared to 2018, but IATA said it remains “subdued” as load factor also fell.

“Global trade continues to suffer as trade tensions—particularly between the US and China—deepen. As a result, air cargo markets continue to contract,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

“Nobody wins a trade war. Borders that are open to trade spread sustained prosperity. That’s what our political leaders must focus on.”

Asia-Pacific and the Middle East were hit hardest by the decline in year-on-year growth of total air cargo volumes.

See the breakdown by region below:

  • Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight contract by 5.4% in June 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. Air freight capacity increased by 1.8% over the same period.  
  • North American airlines’ freight demand decreased by 4.6% in June 2019, compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 1.9% over the past year. 
  • European airlines posted a 3.6% decrease in freight demand in June 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 2.8% year-on-year. 
  • Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes decreased 7.0% in June 2019 compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased by 2.7%. 
  • Latin American airlines experienced a decrease in freight demand in June 2019 of 1.0% compared to the same period last year and capacity increased by 4.6%. 
  • African carriers were the only ones to report growth in June 2019, with an increase in demand of 3.8% compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity grew 16.6%. 
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