GENEVA, May 8: After four consecutive months of contraction, the global air freight markets’ demand increased by 0.1 per cent in March 2019, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Wednesday.
While this is a significant improvement on the 4.9 per cent contraction in February, in seasonally adjusted terms, demand is still down by 1.5 per cent over the past year, the IATA said after releasing data for global air freight markets.
The Association said Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight shrink by 3.4 per cent in March 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.
This was a significant improvement from the 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. Capacity decreased by 1 per cent.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (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 past 12 months.
Industry confidence regarding the outlook, however, remained relatively upbeat with only 13 per cent of respondents from IATA’s Business Confidence Survey expecting to see a decrease in freight volumes in 2019 compared to 2018.
Demand for air cargo continued to go down due to global trade volumes fell by 1 per cent over the past year and weaken global economic activity and consumer confidence.
It also went down after the export order component of the global manufacturers Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has indicated falling global export orders since September 2018.
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: ”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. But the headwinds from weakening global trade, growing trade tensions and shrinking order books have not gone away.”