IATA cargo chartbook 2018, Q1: demand for air cargo still strong


How is 2018 shaping up so far for air cargo? In its latest Cargo Chartbook, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) cites a solid start to the year thanks to a stronger economic and trade backdrop.

Despite a slowdown from the double-digit annual rates seen last year at this time, industry-wide air freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) grew by 7.4 percent year-on-year. While FTKs trended upwards in seasonally adjusted (SA) terms into 2018, the latest quarterly growth rate was actually the slowest in almost two years.

Cargo throughput varied this period: Singapore posted the fastest growth (10.7%), Miami and Frankfurt posted slower than usual growth, and Dubai saw numbers decline.

The positive momentum in air freight growth can be again explained by a rise in global business confidence, which is at its highest level since Q3 2014. Global goods trade grew by 4.6 percent and is well above its five-year average pace (2.6%). The demand in air freight can be further explained by a broader inventory restocking cycle as well as a boost in bottlenecks in manufacturing supply chains.

With reference to cargo payload, 292 tons have been added to the freighter fleet so far this year. Belly-capacity via wide-body passenger fleet deliveries continue to dominate with more than four times the payload. Meanwhile, large widebody freighter utilization is continuing an upward trend and is at its highest since 2012.

All in all, the outlook for the year ahead seems bright with nearly two-thirds of heads of cargo expecting freight volumes to increase.

Cargo market analysis chartbooks are published quarterly on the IATA website.

Published April 23, 2018

Category: Market updates