Air Freight Makes Slow Start in 2015

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 4): Global air freight markets expanded at a slower 3.2% in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) in January this year from the average 4.5% growth posted a year earlier, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

In a statement March 3, the IATA said there was much regional variation in the January performance.

It said Asia-Pacific, African and Middle Eastern airlines expanded strongly, but airlines in Europe and North and Latin America all reported demand contractions.

The IATA said although it was too early to be certain of a trend towards weaker air freight, there are at least two emerging factors which could negatively impact demand for air cargo in the coming months:

  • Business confidence has been declining since mid-2014 and export orders tailed-off towards the end of the year
  • A reversal of the positive trade-to-domestic production ratio which boosted cargo volumes last year.

IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said January was a disappointing start to the year for air cargo.

“And it is difficult to be too optimistic about the rest of the year given the economic headwinds in Europe and growing concerns over the Chinese economy.

“Add to that the continuing trends of on-shoring production and trade protectionism and 2015 is shaping up to be another tough year for air cargo,” he said.