The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released full-year 2018 data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) grew by 3.5% compared to 2017. This was significantly lower than the extraordinary 9.7% growth recorded in 2017.
IATA states: “African carriers experienced a 2.2% decrease in demand for air freight in December 2018, compared to the same month in 2017. This was significantly less than the 9.4% decrease the previous month.”
“Capacity increased by 4.9% year-on-year. It’s worth noting that seasonally-adjusted international freight volumes, despite being 7.7% lower than their peak in mid-2017, are still 50% higher than their most recent trough in late-2015. A 1.3% fall in demand for air freight for the full 2018 year at the same time, they increased capacity by 1%.
“Air cargo demand lost momentum towards the end of 2018 in the face of weakening global trade, sagging consumer confidence and geopolitical headwinds. Still, demand grew by 3.5% compared to 2017. We are cautiously optimistic that demand will grow in the region of 3.7% in 2019. But with the persistence of trade tensions and protectionist actions by some governments there is significant downside risk. Keeping borders open to people and to trade is critical,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“To attract demand in new market segments, the air cargo industry must improve its value proposition. Enabling modern processes with digitalization will help build a stronger foothold in e-commerce and the transport of time- and temperature-sensitive goods such as pharmaceuticals and perishables,” says de Juniac.