Air cargo accelerated growth reflects improved economic conditions

By Margaret Bux
clock 2 min

Air cargo growth accelerated in May, with 4.7 percent growth compared to a year ago, according to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This is up from the 3.8 percent year-over-year growth recorded in April. Cargo volumes, measured by freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), were up across all regions. The acceleration of growth reflects improved economic conditions.

There are indications that world trade and business confidence are improving after weakness in the first quarter. In particular, Chinese manufacturing activity rebounded in May, with a corresponding rise in export order growth. “After several months of wavering conditions in the demand environment, the outlook for global air cargo appears to be stabilizing,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said.

Asia-Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 5.3 percent. Regional trade volumes have picked up again, and there are signs that the slowdown in the Chinese economy is easing. Capacity grew a little faster than demand, at 6 percent, but the region still has the highest freight load factor (55.5 percent). North American carriers grew by a modest 2.4 percent in May, down on the April year-over-year growth rate of 3.5 percent. This reflects the general slowdown in the U.S. economy in the first quarter. However, the latest data supports a return to trade and business growth. Capacity was down 0.2 percent. European airlines expanded 3.4 percent in May. The month-on-month rise was solid at 0.6 percent (compared to 0.3 percent growth recorded in April), pointing to a consistent improvement in economic activity.


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