The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets showing very modest growth in September.
Measured in Freight Tonne Kilometres, air cargo volumes rose 1 per cent compared to the same month a year ago. This is a slight improvement on the August performance when volumes were broadly stable. Overall, however, air cargo volumes remain 1.2 per cent down from their 2014 year-end peak. the IATA said.
The results varied widely by region. Carriers in the Middle East reported the most significant growth (7.5 per cent) followed by European (2.8 per cent) and African airlines (2.5 per cent).
Asia-Pacific based airlines recorded negligible growth (0.3 per cent), and markets in North America (-3.3 per cent) and Latin America (-6.4 per cent) recorded declines. All regions reported capacity expansions ahead of growth in demand, taking the freight load factor down to the lowest level since 2009 (43.2 per cent).
Commenting on the results, Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: "Although slightly improved from August, the global trend is fragile, and the improvement is narrowly based. The 2.8 per cent growth reported by European carriers reflects positive trends in trade with Central and Eastern European economies as well as a general improvement in manufacturing in the Eurozone. But the largest air cargo region, Asia-Pacific, was only just in positive territory, held down by weak regional trade."
The weakness in air cargo markets largely tracks anaemic growth in trade, he said, adding that the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was agreed with the intent of promoting economic growth and prosperity by liberalising trade across participating economies.
"Trade is the path to prosperity," said Tyler. "We have high hopes that the TPP will deliver its promised benefits to participating economies with air transport—cargo and passenger—playing its role as one of the catalysts for growth."