Seasonal airfreight demand down 1.5% despite growth in March

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Airfreight demand was up marginally in March but is still down 1.5% in seasonally adjusted terms, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports.

Freight ton kilometres increased 0.1% in March, a significant improvement on the year-on-year contraction of 4.9% in February but demand is still down 1.5% a year in seasonally adjusted terms.

Air cargo continues to face significant headwinds due to global trade volumes falling 1% over the past year; global economic activity and consumer confidence weakening, and the export order component of the global manufacturers Purchasing Managers Index indicating falling global export orders since September 2018.

Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA said: “Year-on-year demand for air freight edged back into positive territory in March with 0.1% 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.”

Freight capacity continues to rise, with available tonne kilometres increasing 3.1% year-on-year in March, the 11th month out of 12 where capacity growth has outstripped demand.

Industry confidence remains relatively upbeat, with only 13% of respondents to IATA’s Business Confidence Survey expecting to see a decrease in freight volumes in 2019 compared to 2018.