The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released February data for global air freight markets showing a sharp increase in year-on-year air freight volumes. Growth measured by freight tonne kilometers (FTK) was up 11.7 per cent in February, compared to February 2014. Capacity grew 7.4 per cent.
Much of the impressive February result is due to the timing of the Lunar New Year activities. Air freight is given a strong boost in the weeks leading up to the holiday, which last year fell in January. In addition, air freight volumes were enhanced by the consequences of congestion at US West Coast ports.
These factors showed up most in the Asia-Pacific results, with carriers in that region recording a rise in volumes of 20.8 per cent year-on-year. Japanese carriers, in particular, benefited from the modal shift owing to congested sea ports in the US.
“A combination of factors made February the strongest month in a very long time for air freight. Nobody expects growth to continue at this pace. As we look forward, however, there is room for optimism. Business confidence improved slightly and trade continues to grow. The year is shaping up in line with a growth expectation of 4-5 per cent,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.