IATA: Cargo growth trend cools

According to IATA, this plateau in volumes is consistent with the recent pause in improvements to business confidence and world trade.


IATA


While there was an improvement in volumes compared to March 2013 according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) data with air freight markets in March up 5.9 per cent compared to a year ago and capacity growing 3.4 per cent, much of that growth took place in the final quarter of 2013 (over and above the usual year-end volume growth). Since the beginning of the year, air cargo volumes have been basically flat. According to IATA, this plateau in volumes is consistent with the recent pause in improvements to business confidence and world trade.

One reason to be cautiously optimistic, according to IATA, is the business conditions in US and Europe, especially in the coming months. Rising export orders, in particular, are expected to give positive momentum to US and European markets. However, this is balanced against the impact of a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing which is now into its fourth month. This has already impacted exports from emerging Asian countries, which contracted in February.

Most carriers have reported positive growth patterns as compared to this time last year. Asia-Pacific carriers grew 6.9 per cent and European airlines expanded by 5.1 per cent compared to March 2013. North American carriers grew 1.9 per cent year-on-year. The slower growth could be a reflection of the weather-related disruption in the first quarter of the year. Middle Eastern carriers had the biggest growth amongst all with a 13.2 per cent year-on-year rise in FTK volumes. This strong performance comes on the back of airlines taking advantage of growth in both developed and emerging markets.