Despite the worldwide cargo market seeing sustained challenges such as high fuel prices and slow growth, cargo heads indicate optimism in 2013, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says in a new cargo analysis.
The European freight economy has contracted in 2012 and confidence in the region fell during the quarter, IATA says. However, the association says consumer confidence in the United States is matching levels seen in early 2008 before the economic downturn, based on data from Haver Analytics.
Industry heads surveyed in October said they expected traffic growth in 2013 and indicated more optimism for cargo yields than when surveyed in April.
Freight load factors fell in the beginning of the fourth quarter, the study shows, which was caused in part by declining demand and a growing freighter fleet.
Aircraft utilisation rates declined between the third and fourth quarter, which IATA says may continue in coming months due to new aircraft deliveries. Larger, twin-aisle aircraft with cargo capacity will have increased by more than half year-over-year in 2012. In 2012 alone the widebody fleet has increased by 6%, IATA says, based on data from Flightglobal's Ascend Online database. These deliveries are expected to continue in 2013 with a projected 350 new aircraft joining the fleet. A majority of these aircraft will be deployed in the Asia-Pacific region.
In September, routes within the Middle East saw the highest amount of volume growth year-on-year at 22.3%. The second-highest growth routes were those from Africa to the Middle East, expanding by 15.4% in September. The routes that contracted the most were those from the Far East to the Southwest Pacific, with a contraction of 9.4% in growth in September and South Atlantic routes at 8%.