June figures show cargo improvement but belly capacity growth still a problem

The uptick in June was largely caused by a strong showing of the Asia Pacific region, which grew by 7.1 per cent in incoming and by 6.6 per cent in outgoing air cargo, a distinct change form earlier months.


WorldACD


Providing some welcome relief from the relentless bad news since the start of 2016, recent statistics from WorldACD indicate the air cargo business picked up in June with worldwide chargeable weight improving by 2.7 per cent year-on-year (YoY).

The uptick in June was largely caused by a strong showing of the Asia Pacific region, which grew by 7.1 per cent in incoming and by 6.6 per cent in outgoing air cargo, a distinct change form earlier months.

Europe as a destination continued to do well (+4.8 per cent YoY), but Africa and Central & South America fell back, in incoming as in outgoing air cargo volumes. With a drop of almost 11 per cent, African imports were particularly hard hit.

North America performed on average, while the region Middle East & South Asia (MESA) was lacklustre with a performance below the other areas in the northern hemisphere.

Most product categories grew in June more or less in line with general cargo, except pharma, which showed an increase of over 10 per cent. Thanks to this growth, with yields well above average, the overall USD-yield in June remained stable, largely the same as in May 2016.

WorldACD noted that the first quarter of 2016 didn’t lend itself to a proper comparison with the same quarter a year earlier and as such the second quarter is likely a better indicator of what 2016 will turn out to be, showing an average YoY volume increase of 2.1 per cent globally.

The smaller country pairs outgrew the larger ones, as the top-100 country pairs grew by much less than average (only 0.6% per cent). Yet, twenty-one of these top-100 grew by more than 10 per cent with India figuring in six of these twenty-one country pairs, China East and Germany in five, and Hong Kong in four. As far as destination areas are concerned, growth was only recorded for Asia Pacific and Europe, both over 5.0 per cent.

“Much is being said about the cargo capacity growth as a consequence of growth in passenger aircraft,” WorldACD said, “but what are the consequences for air cargo?” On the relationship between volumes carried and bellyhold capacity offered WorldACD looked at Q2 YoY changes on the routes between MESA and Europe and between Europe and North America. For these routes, the growth of cargo capacity on board of passenger aircraft outpaced the percentage increase in cargo carried on these aircraft, in some cases quite considerably.

Bellyhold capacity grew most from MESA to Europe (+6.8 per cent), but a good part of that capacity growth was taken up by cargo carried (+4.9 per cent). In the other direction, the figures were +5.3 per cent and +2.2 per cent respectively.

For Europe to North America, however, the picture was more worrisome, WorldACD said. A bellyhold capacity growth of 5.5 per cent combined with a volume decrease of 1.5 per cent. The result was slightly better in the other direction, i.e. from North America to Europe, where bellyhold capacity grew by 3.2 per cent and cargo carried in the bellyhold dropped by 0.7 per cent.

For the routes between MESA and Europe, more than half of the airlines reporting capacity data to WorldACD, notched up a higher volume growth than capacity growth for the bellyhold, thus improving their cargo loadfactors on their passenger aircraft. For the routes between North America and Europe, the picture was quite different: Only 20 per cent of the airlines reporting improved their cargo loadfactor on passenger aircraft.