GENEVA, Switz.–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets in September 2016 showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), rose 6.1% year-on-year. This was the fastest pace of growth since the disruption caused by the U.S. West Coast seaports strike in February 2015.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), increased 4.7% over the same period. Load factors remained historically low, keeping yields under pressure.
September’s positive performance coincided with an apparent turnaround in new export orders in recent months. Some unique factors also may have contributed, such as the rush replacement of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices during the month, as well as the early impacts of the collapse of the Hanjin marine shipping line at the end of August.
“Demand for air cargo strengthened in September. Although with growth in world trade virtually at a standstill, the air cargo sector still faces some major hurdles. We did have some encouraging news. The conclusion of the EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement is good news for the economies involved and for air cargo. Growth is the way to overcome the world’s current economic challenges. The EU-Canada agreement is a welcome respite from the current protectionist rhetoric and positive results should soon be evident. Governments everywhere should take note and move in the same direction,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
North American carriers saw freight volumes expand 4.5% in September 2016 year-on-year, as capacity increased 2.6%. International freight volumes grew by 6.2% – their fastest pace since the U.S. seaports disruption boosted demand in February 2015. However, in seasonally-adjusted terms volumes are still just below the level seen in January 2015. The strength of the U.S. dollar continues to keep the U.S. export market under pressure.