Air freight volumes continue to fall

September was yet another poor month for the aviation sector after the International Air Transport Association (Iata) reported a decrease of 4.5% in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) for September 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

This marks the eleventh consecutive month of year-on-year decline in freight volumes, the longest period since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Speaking after the latest report, Iata director general Alexandre de Juniac said trade wars and weakness in some of the key economic areas played a critical part in the decline of freight volume in September, with trillions of dollars in trade being affected.

“The US-China trade war continues to take its toll on the air cargo industry,” he said.

“October’s pause on tariff hikes between Washington and Beijing is good news. But trillions of dollars of trade is already affected, which helped fuel September’s 4.5% year-on-year fall in demand.  And we can expect the tough business environment for air cargo to continue.”

In the same period, freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres, rose by 2.1% year-on-year in September 2019, outstripping demand for the 17th consecutive month.

African carriers were the only ones to show growth of any region, with an increase in demand of 2.2% compared to the same period a year earlier, while airlines in Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America and the Middle East reported sharp declines.

However, this is still significantly less than the 8% growth recorded for Africa in August. – Bjorn Vorster

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