The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global airfreight markets showing a fall in air cargo demand in July compared to the same month last year. Airfreight volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTK) fell 0.6 per cent, in line with weaker global economic growth.
Th e decline was broad-based across all regions with the exception of Africa and the Middle East. Th e most pronounced falls were in the Americas, where international FTK volumes were down more than 5.0 per cent compared to July 2014.
“The recent stock-market turmoil shows that investors have real fears about the strength of the global economy,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. “And the disappointing July freight performance is symptomatic of a broader slowdown in economic growth. Th e combination of China’s continued shift towards domestic markets, wider weakness in emerging markets and slowing global trade indicates that it will continue to be a rough ride for air cargo in the months to come,” Tyler added.
Asia-Pacific carriers saw a fall in FTKs of 1.9 per cent in July compared to July 2014 and capacity expanded 5.3 per cent. Th e region has experienced notable declines in imports and exports during 2015 with Chinese manufacturing particularly struggling.
European carriers reported a fall in demand in June of 1.5 per cent compared to a year ago and capacity rose 3.9 per cent. Central and Eastern Europe has had an especially tough few months, with trade in this region falling around 10 per cent since the end of the fi rst quarter.
North American airlines experienced a decline of 3.7 per cent year-on-year and capacity grew 5.4 per cent. Despite the subdued performance of the US economy in the fi rst quarter, airfreight benefi ted from a modal shift to air as a result of the West Coast ports strike in the US. Th is impact has faded and although economic performance likely improved in Q2, this does not seem to be driving stronger airfreight demand, according to IATA.
Middle Eastern carriers saw the strongest growth with demand expanding by 10.8 per cent, and capacity rising 18.3 per cent. Th e reason for the slightly more subdued performance in July is due to the timing of Ramadan, which traditionally gives a boost to airfreight. Ramadan started in June this year whereas it took place mostly in July in 2014.
Latin American airlines reported a fall in demand of 5.1 per cent yearon- year, and capacity expanded 3.2 per cent. Regional trade activity, Brazil and Argentina excepted, was very solid in the fi rst half of 2015, but this did not feed through into stronger demand for airfreight.
African carriers experienced growth in demand of 3.6 per cent, and capacity rose by 11.4 per cent. In contrast to Latin America, the strong regional trade performance in the region has underpinned solid airfreight growth, despite the underperformance of the Nigerian and South African economies.