Global freight traffic grows 2.2% in June: ACI

The recovery in world trade coupled with an improvement in domestic demand in advanced economies has helped bolster air freight markets over the last three quarters, the organisation said.


ACI Airports Council International ebola Rafael Echevarne


Global air freight markets achieved moderate growth of 2.2 per cent for the month of June, according to statistics from the Airports Council International (ACI). The recovery in world trade coupled with an improvement in domestic demand in advanced economies has helped bolster air freight markets over the last three quarters, the organisation said.

Asia-Pacific experienced the strongest gains as compared to the previous year with a rise of 4.5 per cent. The Asian hubs of Hong Kong (HKG) and Shanghai (PVG) also experienced buoyant recoveries as compared to the previous year with growth of 7.3 and 6.5 per cent respectively. Memphis (MEM), the US’ largest freight hub and home to FedEx, decreased slightly by 1.2 per cent.

“As we pass the year’s mid-point and look back over the last six months, it is impressive to see the continued resilience in air transport demand,” said ACI World’s economics director Rafael Echevarne. “Surprisingly, the cyclical slowdowns in emerging markets and the turbulent recoveries in advanced economies have left the aviation sector largely unfettered in the first half of 2014 with year-to-date growth rates of 4.8 per cent in passenger traffic and 3.7 per cent in freight volumes. 

“Nevertheless, the fragile state of the world economy, the recent geopolitical risks in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa represent significant downside risks for aviation. Thus, while there is an ongoing sense of optimism for the industry, one should be cognizant of these pitfalls.”

Most regions posted strong gains in passenger traffic, with the exception of Africa, which was almost flat for the month of June as compared to the previous year. Europe posted the highest growth rate (6.1 per cent) since passenger numbers were significantly depressed in 2013 due to the Euro area crisis. 

The top 30 busiest airports in Europe all posted gains in passenger traffic. On the other hand, Asia-Pacific experienced more subdued growth in June with mixed results across many airports in the region. While Tokyo (HND) posted strong gains of 7.6 per cent, growth at Beijing (PEK) was almost flat with respect to the previous year. Jakarta (CGK), Indonesia’s busiest airport, also saw a decline in passenger traffic of 6.9 per cent. Several airlines are pulling back on services in an effort to restructure operations in the region. The Middle East was also well below the 12-month growth trend in June with growth of only 4.4 per cent. The low growth rate is mainly attributable to the closure of a runway at Dubai (DXB), which was being refurbished over the summer months.