The demand for air cargo globally continues to face headwinds due to weakening businesses and growing trade tensions, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.
Global trade volumes have fallen by one per cent over the past year, while economic activity and consumer confidence continue to weaken.
The export order component of the global manufacturers Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) indicates falling global export orders since September 2018, said IATA that represents some 290 airlines comprising 82 per cent of the air traffic worldwide.
Air freight markets show that demand measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), increased just 0.1 per cent in March 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. "While this is a significant improvement on 4.9 per cent contraction in February in seasonally adjusted terms, demand is still down 1.5 per cent over the past year."
Freight capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs) rose by 3.1 per cent year-on-year in March 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 11 out of the last 12 months, said IATA in a statement.
While all regions reported year-on-year demand growth in March 2019, Asia Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight shrink by 3.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. This was a significant improvement from 12 per cent decline in growth from the previous month.
Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters in the region, ongoing trade tensions and a slowing of the Chinese economy impacted the market. At the same time, capacity decreased by one per cent.
"Year-on-year demand for air freight edged back into positive territory in March with 0.1 per cent growth. After four consecutive months of contraction, this is an encouraging development," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
"But the headwinds from weakening global trade, growing trade tensions and shrinking order books have not gone away," he said.
Total freight traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of FTK are: Asia-Pacific 35.5 per cent, Europe 23.3 per cent, North America 23.6 per cent, Middle East 13.3 per cent, Latin America 2.6 per cent and Africa 1.7 per cent.
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