Air freight sees modest growth in Jan but falls in Feb 2016
Air freight rose 2.7% in the first month of this year, compared to January 2015, with freight tonne kilometers seeing a continuation of the improving trend witnessed up to and including December. For the total market, FTK growth last January surpassed the previous all-time peak reached in February 2015 at 2.7%. However, not all regions showed growth with Latin America and Africa falling 3.6% and 1.4%, respectively. The Middle East improved the most at 8.8%, while Europe and North America were at growth of 2.5%. Asia-Pacific lagged behind at 1.3%. The percentage of total capacity utilized, the load factor, continues to be low with the total market at 41.3% and Africa seeing the lowest use at 22%. All regions also reported contractions in the load factor. With world economic demand expected to remain soft for this year, air freight volumes are likely to have modest growth. While historically air freight grew at twice the rate of world gross domestic product (GDP), the post-financial crisis climate is seeing cargo increases that only match GDP expansion. However, IATA has released data for global air freight markets showing air cargo volumes, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), suffered a 5.6% fall in February, compared to February 2015. This is heavily skewed due to the impact of the US port strikes in early 2015 (which caused a spike in air freight) and Lunar New Year falling in February this year. Comparing January and February 2016 performance to January and February 2014 reveals 6.3% volume in growth?equal to a 3.1% annualized growth trend.