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Press Release No.: 27

Date: 29 May 2013

Air Freight Growth Stabilizes

Cape Town - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released figures for air freight markets in April which showed modest growth of 1.4% compared to April 2012. This small increase helped to offset the 2.6% decline recorded in March compared to the year-ago period. And it continues an 18-month trend of basically no growth in the cargo markets.

“We saw a brief rally in cargo markets at the end of 2012. But that has clearly stalled. Fortunately, the small improvement in April means that economic conditions have not deteriorated to the point of starting a market contraction. And if we look to emerging markets--particularly Latin America and the Middle East—we do see some encouraging signs of growth,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Apr 2013 vs. Apr 2012 FTK Growth AFTK Growth FLF
International 1.2% 1.2% 49.0
Domestic 2.9% 1.8% 28.7
Total Market 1.4% 1.2% 44.7

YTD 2013 vs. YTD 2012 FTK Growth AFTK Growth FLF
International -1.0% -0.3% 48.7
Domestic 2.0% 0.8% 28.7
Total Market -0.6% -0.1% 44.3

Regional Performance

Growth in emerging markets was strong enough to counterbalance weaknesses in the major aviation regions, but overall growth remains feeble.

Asia-Pacific carriers saw a 0.4% fall in freight compared to April 2012. Although Chinese economic growth is still robust, overall business confidence softened in April, indicating a sluggish manufacturing sector. The outlook for Japan, by contrast, is more optimistic. Export growth drove Japanese business confidence to a 13-month high in April, but the impact hasn’t yet affected freight growth.

North American airlines saw air freight volumes fall 0.1% in April compared to the previous year. Although this is a contraction, it is an improvement on the 6.5% fall in March, suggesting that markets have broadly stabilized.

European carriers saw an increase in air freight demand of just 0.9%. Regional business confidence levels trail those in both the US and emerging markets. Nevertheless, European air freight volumes are holding up better than other regions when compared to the previous year.

Middle East airlines saw their freight business expand at a healthy 8.6% compared to April 2012. While this is a slowdown from the year-to-date growth rate of 11.2%, it was still the second highest of any region and the opening of new routes to developing economies will drive growth for the foreseeable future.

Latin American airlines experienced the highest growth in demand with a 12.2% expansion compared to the year-ago levels. This is more than three times the year-to-date growth, and is the result of strong domestic demand as well as a sustained growth in exports of perishable goods.

African airlines saw air freight demand grow by 1.4% compared to April 2012, in line with the global result. During previous months, however, African airlines’ air freight demand has performed more strongly than the global market, reflecting robust expansion in regional trade volumes compared to the world trend.

Read full April air freight results (pdf)

For more information, please contact:
Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org

Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 240 airlines comprising 84% of global air traffic.
  • You can follow us at http://twitter.com/iata2press for news specially catered for the media.
  • Explanation of measurement terms:
    • FTK: Freight Tonne Kilometers measures actual freight traffic
    • AFTK: Available Freight Tonne Kilometers measures available total freight capacity
    • FLF: Freight Load Factor is % of AFTKs used
  • IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.
  • All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures may be revised.
  • Total freight traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of FTK are: Asia-Pacific 37.7%, North America 23.4%, Europe 22.0%, Middle East 12.4%, Latin America 3.3%, Africa 1.1%.
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