Airline executives say the outlook for the air cargo market is optimistic despite sustained weakness, says a July survey of airline executives from the IATA.
Fifty-eight percent of cargo heads said they expected to see an increase in cargo traffic in the next year, compared to only 44% who had the same response in April.
Cargo executives give a more mixed picture of how the business has acted over the past three months. Of the respondents, 45% said they saw an improvement in cargo traffic volumes, while 30% saw deterioration. A quarter of those surveyed said they saw no change. Most of the executives surveyed saw cargo volumes rise slightly, says IATA.
By comparison, 61.5% of the heads of passenger airlines said they expect volumes to grow in the next year, compared to 7.7% who expect them to drop and 30.8% who forecast the numbers will stay the same.
About 58% of cargo executives said that they did not see a change in cargo yields over the past three months, while the balance of responses were split between those who saw yields improve and deteriorate during the past three months.
When looking at both cargo and passenger airline respondents combined, 71.4% said that they expect improvements in profitability in the next year, compared to 73% in April. For the past three months, 66.7% said they also saw profitability improve, compared to 29% who thought it deteriorated.
Earlier this month, IATA unveiled a report that showed a 44% load factor during May in the air cargo market in the wake of capacity increases and softened demand.
Analysts are expected to press executives at United Parcel Service (UPS) about this topic during an earnings call scheduled for 23 July, after the Atlanta-based shipper announced it was reducing its guidance on 12 July due to overcapacity and a shift to lower-yielding services. The company said it expected to see solid profit growth in the back half of the year despite the trend.
UPS' rival FedEx said on 19 June that it also saw customers choosing lower-yielding shipments, a trend that cargo companies have been closely tracking over the past year.