The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing a 3.3 per cent increase in cargo volumes (freight tonne kilometers or FTKs) in April 2015 compared to April in the previous year. While there is growth compared to the same month in 2014, there has been no actual growth in aggregated global cargo volumes since late last year.
At a regional level, only the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern airlines reported growth in April. North American carriers reported essentially flat demand, while Europe, Latin America and Africa all reported declines when compared to 2014. April data also revealed a slowdown from the growth for the first quarter of 2015, which averaged 5.3 per cent, in line with a recent weakening in world trade growth. Despite a cyclical pick-up in the global economy, acceleration in trade and air freight demand is unlikely in the near term as business confidence and export orders are flat or declining.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “After a volatile start to 2015, the market is settling down, and it is clear that momentum in air freight growth is being lost. First there is the structural challenge of world trade no longer expanding at a faster rate than domestic production. Layered on top of that trend we now see a weakening of economic indicators in the crucial air cargo markets of Asia-Pacific and Europe. These factors point toward a need to kick-start trade by reversing protectionist trade measures. Implementing the Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement would be a good start, as well as commitments to help facilitate trade in emerging markets.”