Air cargo growth stabilises in September: IATA

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The air freight market stabilised in September after months of “slow but steady” growth, new data from IATA shows.

Freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) grew 0.5% year-over-year. Freight volumes in September were flat when compared to August, says IATA, punctuating growth seen since the beginning of the second quarter. Despite this, it says volumes are at a 25-month high and point to business improving. However, different regions are experiencing vastly different amounts of growth.

“The story behind September’s performance is regional,” says IATA’s director general and chief executive Tony Tyler in a release. “The leveling-off of global volumes was a result of the growth rate in Europe and the Middle East moderating after recent acceleration, while Asia-Pacific airlines saw a deepening of the market weakness.”

Asia-Pacific airlines saw FTKs drop 3.1% year-over-year in September, contributing to a 2.1% contraction in growth this year. On the other hand, European carriers experienced 1.4% in cargo growth and saw volumes the highest since mid-2011 as the economy improves.

Airlines in the Middle East and Latin America saw cargo volumes grow in September, at respective rates of 9.9% and 3.9%.

North America saw only 0.9% in cargo growth last month. The growth shows a departure from the -1.1% contraction in freight over the year, says IATA, nothing that while business confidence began improving this quarter, any impacts from the US government shutdown have not been determined yet.

Airlines in Africa saw a 0.8% decrease in FTKs, with a 11.2% increase in capacity.

IATA is showing “cautious optimism” for the air freight market based on the results and continues to expect business confidence to pick up by the end of the year, says Tyler. However, he urges the industry to consider new value-added services like e-freight due to the overall weakness of the cargo market when compared to passenger operations.