The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today (10 January) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), climbed 8.8 per cent in November 2017 compared to the year-earlier period. This was an increase from the 5.8 per cent annual growth recorded in October 2017.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 4 per cent year-on-year in November. This was the 16th consecutive month in which demand growth outstripped capacity growth, which is positive for industry load factors, yields, and financial performance, the IATA said.

'The uptick in freight growth coincides with the traditional period of strong demand seen in the fourth quarter. November’s robust performance puts the air cargo industry on track to achieve its strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis rebound in 2010,' the IATA said in a press release.

Commenting on the November results, IATA director general and CEO said: 'Air freight demand remains robust. November showed 8.8 per cent year-on-year growth, keeping up the momentum that will make 2017 the strongest year for air cargo since 2010. And there are several indicators that 2018 will be a good year as well. In particular, buoyant consumer confidence, the growth of international e-commerce and the broad-based global economic upturn are cause for optimism as we head into the New Year.'

Airlines in all regions reported an increase in total year-on-year demand in November.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw freight volumes increase by 8.1 per cent and capacity expand by 1.2 per cent in November, compared to the same period last year, the IATA said.

'The major exporters in China and Japan are reporting rising demand supported in part by a pick-up in economic activity in Europe and a continued solid performance from the US. This is expected to support demand into the New Year,' the press release said.

North American carriers posted an increase in freight volumes of 9.6 per cent for November. Capacity increased 3.9 per cent.

'The strength of the US economy and the US dollar have improved the inbound freight market in recent years. Data from the US Census Bureau shows an 11.6 per cent year-on-year increase in air imports to the US in the first ten months of 2017, compared to a slower rise in exports of 6.7 per cent. The recently agreed US tax reform bill may also help to support freight volumes in the period ahead,' the IATA said.

European airlines posted a 9.9 per cent increase in freight demand in November and a capacity increase of 4.7 per cent.

Concerns that the recent strengthening of the euro might have affected the region’s exporters have not materialised, the IATA said.

'Europe’s manufacturers’ export orders are growing at their fastest pace on record. This is expected to support demand into the New Year,' it added.