Africa shines in lack-lustre airfreight market

The airfreight market is continuing to deliver a lack-lustre performance with demand measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) increasing by a meagre 0.1% in March compared to the same period in 2018, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

While this is a significant improvement on the 4.9% contraction in February, in seasonally adjusted terms, demand is still down 1.5% over the past year.  

Freight capacity, measured in available FTKs, rose by 3.1% year-on-year in March 2019 which means capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 11 out of the last 12 months, according to Iata.

“The fact that year-on-year demand for airfreight edged back into positive territory in March with 0.1% growth after four consecutive months of contraction is an encouraging development,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and CEO. “But the headwinds from weakening global trade, growing trade tensions and shrinking order books have not gone away.”

African carriers posted the fastest growth of any region in March, with an increase in demand of 6.0% compared to the previous year. Seasonally adjusted international freight volumes are lower than their peak in mid-2017; despite this, they are still around 30% higher than their most recent trough in late 2015. Capacity grew 15.2% year-on-year.

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