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Weakness in global air freight demand continues on growing trade tensions: IATA

Geneva: The demand for air cargo globally continues to face headwinds due to weakening businesses and growing trade tensions, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

Global trade volumes have fallen by one percent over the past year, while economic activity and consumer confidence continue to weaken.

The export order component of the global manufacturers Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) indicates falling global export orders since September 2018, said IATA that represents some 290 airlines comprising 82 percent of the air traffic worldwide.

Air freight markets show that demand measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), increased just 0.1 percent in March 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. "While this is a significant improvement on 4.9 percent contraction in February in seasonally adjusted terms, demand is still down 1.5 percent over the past year."

 Weakness in global air freight demand continues on growing trade tensions: IATA

Representational image. Reuters

Freight capacity measured in available freight tonne kilometres (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, said IATA in a statement.

While all regions reported year-on-year demand growth in March 2019, Asia Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight shrink by 3.4 percent compared to the same period in 2018. This was a significant improvement from 12 percent decline in growth from the previous month.

Weaker manufacturing conditions for exporters in the region, ongoing trade tensions and a slowing of the Chinese economy impacted the market. At the same time, capacity decreased by one percent.

"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," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

"But the headwinds from weakening global trade, growing trade tensions and shrinking order books have not gone away," he said.

Total freight traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of FTK are: Asia-Pacific 35.5 percent, Europe 23.3 percent, North America 23.6 percent, Middle East 13.3 percent, Latin America 2.6 percent and Africa 1.7 percent.

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Updated Date: May 08, 2019 15:06:11 IST