Demand remains weak in the face of significant headwinds
Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) increased 1.3% in March 2019 compared to the year-ago period.
Capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs) increased by 3.8%.
This is a clear downward trend in seasonally-adjusted international air cargo demand which is now evident with weakening air freight volumes to/from North America and to/from Asia Pacific into the region, contributing to the softer performance.
Meanwhile, global air freight markets also showed that demand increased just 0.1% in March 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.
While this is a significant improvement on the 4.9% contraction in February, in seasonally adjusted terms, demand is still down 1.5% over the past year.
Freight capacity rose by 3.1% year-on-year in March 2019.
Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 11 out of the last 12 months.
Demand for air cargo continues to face significant headwinds as global trade volumes have fallen by 1% over the past year.
Meanwhie, economic activity and consumer confidence continue to weaken as the export order books of the global manufacturers’ Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has indicated falling global export orders since September 2018.
Industry confidence regarding the outlook, however remains relatively upbeat with only 13% of respondents from IATA’s Business Confidence Survey expecting to see a decrease in freight volumes in 2019 compared to 2018.
Said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO: “Year-on-year demand for air freight edged back into positive territory in March with 0.1% growth.
“After four consecutive months of contraction, this is an encouraging development.
“But the headwinds from weakening global trade, growing trade tensions and shrinking order books have not gone away.”