The global demand air freight, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), increased by 0.1 percent in March 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) latest data show.
While this is a significant improvement on the 4.9 percent contraction in February, in seasonally adjusted terms, demand is still down 1.5 percent over the past year.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 3.1 percent 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:
Global trade volumes have fallen by 1 percent over the past year; Global economic activity and consumer confidence continue to weaken; And the export order component 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 percent of respondents from IATA’s Business Confidence Survey expecting to see a decrease in freight volumes in 2019 compared to 2018.
“Year-on-year demand for air freight edged back into positive territory in March with 0.1 percent 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,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.