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Air freight has had the strongest first half-year in seven years

According to IATA the Airline trade body the outlook is optimistic with demand expected to grow at ‘a robust rate’ of 8% during the third quarter of this year.

Newly released data for global air freight markets yesterday showed that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), grew by 10.4% in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year.

This was the strongest interim performance since air cargo’s rebound from the global financial crisis in 2010 and nearly triple the industry’s average growth rate of 3.9% over the last five years, the airline trade body underlined.

Demand growth continues to significantly outstrip capacity growth with a positive effect on yields. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), grew by 3.6% on H1 2016 on  the previous year’s levels.

IATA said the sustained growth of air freight demand  was consistent with an improvement in global trade, with new global export orders remaining close to a six-year high.

“Air cargo is flying high on the back of a stronger global economy. Demand is growing at a faster pace than at any time since the global financial risis. That’s great news after many years of stagnation. And, even more importantly, the industry is taking advantage of this momentum to accelerate much-needed process modernization and improve the value it provides to its many customers,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

IATA’s extensive data analysis also revealed that all geographical regions experienced positive freight growth in the first half of 2017. Carriers in Asia Pacific and Europe accounted for two-thirds of the increase in demand.

“Seasonally adjusted international volumes remain very strong, surging by an annualized rate of more than 30% in the second quarter. The strength of the US dollar continues to boost the inbound freight market but is keeping the export market under pressure,” IATA  observed.

European airlines posted a 14.3% year-on-year increase in freight demand in June 2017 and a capacity rise of 6.1%.

“The healthy results helped boost cargo volumes for the first half of 2017 by 13.6%. The ongoing weakness of the euro persists in boosting the performance of the European freight market which continues to benefit from strong export orders.”

African carriers had the fastest growth in year-on-year freight volumes, up 31.6% in June and a capacity increase of 7.6%. This contributed to freight demand growing 25.9% in the first half of 2017 – the fastest of all regions.

“Demand has been boosted by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia which have increased by nearly 60% in the first five months of 2017. Capacity grew 11.2% in the first half of the year. Seasonally adjusted growth has levelled off in recent months; however growth is set to remain in double digits for the remainder of 2017,” IATA concluded.