Air cargo market improves slightly in June, but remains weak: IATA

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In June air freight kilometers increased by 1.2% year-over-year, however it is too early to tell whether this is indicative that the air cargo market is starting to see sustained growth, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in a new analysis.

"The outlook for air freight markets in the second half of 2013 remains fragile," says IATA's analysis.

Month-over-month, cargo volumes increased 0.8% between May and June, says IATA, adding that these values are the highest the market has seen since mid-2011. While the growth is a change from the flatness the market has seen for the past year-and-a-half, several factors show that the market is still weak, says IATA.

The association points out that business confidence has stayed flat this year and the Asia-Pacific market is contracting despite being a large manufacturing centre. Air freight volumes in this region contracted 1.8% in June, IATA's research shows.

The European market is showing signs of improvement, says IATA, seeing volumes up 2.6% in June compared to the same month in 2012. However, the region continues to see a recession, says IATA, citing data from JP Morgan.

"The next months of data will be critical in determining if the important Eurozone economy will remain on a path to stability, which in turn will provide some clarity on the degree of support air freight markets can expect to receive," says IATA.

The North American region saw a 1.2% contraction in freight tonne kilometers compared to June 2012. By comparison, the Middle Eastern and Latin American regions are showing the strongest growth in their respective regions at 12.8% and 5%, respectively. The two regions are also seeing growth on international shipments of 12.7% and 7%.