Global air freight demand grew by over 11 percent in July as international trade and business confidence grew, IATA said in its monthly update.
The 11.4 percent increase in demand was the fourth time in just five months that the sector returned double-digit growth. IATA introduced a note of caution though, saying there are signs that demand growth may be nearing a peak.
“July was a strong month for air cargo with double-digit growth. And for the third consecutive month demand for air freight grew at a faster pace than demand for air travel,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said.
“While the outlook for the rest of the year remains positive, there are signs that the cyclical growth period may be nearing a peak.”
Regionally, Africa saw the biggest jump in demand, 33.7 percent, but from a relatively low base. Of the larger markets, Europe on a 12.1 percent demand increase in freight tonne km terms just beat North America on 11.9 percent, and Asia Pacific with an 11 percent uplift.
The increase in freight capacity was more restrained with a 3.7 percent rise overall in available freight tonne km. Asia Pacific added the most capacity with a 6.3 percent increase, followed by Europe on 5.5 percent, and Latin America’s 4.7 percent boost. North America, in contrast, added just 1.1 percent capacity in July.
Africa again topped the chart in terms of improved freight load factor with a 4.9 percentage point increase, but only to 22.5 percent. The Middle East improved its load factor to 43.6 percent, a 3.9 percentage point increase, with North America adding 3.4 percentage points to 34.9 percent, and Europe 2.6 percentage points to 44.2 percent. The overall winner in the freight load factor stakes was Asia Pacific with carriers filling 55 percent of capacity, a 2.3 percentage point increase on the same period last year.