The latest data for the global air freight market released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed that freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) recorded for November 2018 was flat (0%), as compared to the year before.
The organisation also noted that the rate of growth was the slowest recorded since March 2016. This development interrupted what had been 31 consecutive months of year-on-year increases.
Additionally, IATA recorded 4.3% year-on-year growth in freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs). This marked the ninth month in a row where capacity growth outpaced demand.
Factors that contributed to the decline included weakened consumer confidence compared to the start of 2018, shorter supplier delivery times in Asia and Europe, as well as indications of weakened global economic activity. IATA also recorded a reduction in the export order books of a number of major exporting nations, save for the United States.
Despite the decline in these areas, the popularity of international e-commerce continues to grow.
Commenting on the market’s progress, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Normally the fourth quarter is a peak season for air cargo. So essentially flat growth in November is a big disappointment. While our outlook is for 3.7% demand growth in 2019, downside risks are mounting. Trade tensions are cause for great concern. We need governments to focus on enabling growth through trade, not barricading their borders through punitive tariffs.”
Within the Middle East region, freight volumes expanded 1.7% and capacity increased by 7.8% in November 2018, as compared to the same point in 2017. According to IATA, seasonally-adjusted international air cargo demand has trended upwards over the past six months. This came as a result of stronger trade with both Europe and Asia.