Air cargo volumes continue to decline as trade disputes deepen

Middle East and Asia-Pacific airlines suffer sharpest declines in cargo volumes in June, IATA reports
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Iata, Air cargo, Trade tariff, Market Performance

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased by 4.8% in June 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This marks the eighth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in freight volumes.

Middle East carriers posted the sharpest declines in freight volumes globally in June as escalating trade tensions added to an eight-month drop in global air cargo volumes. Middle Eastern airlines' freight volumes decreased 7% in June 2019 compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased by 2.7%. Seasonally adjusted demand has been falling since late 2018, and the latest data show volumes to Europe (-7.2%) and Asia-Pacific (-6.5%) were particularly weak.

Freight volumes to Europe and Asia-Pacific were particularly weak, sliding 7.2 per cent and 6.5 per cent, respectively.

Signs of a modest recovery in recent months appear to have been premature, with the June contraction broad-based across all regions with the exception of Africa. Capacity growth remains subdued and the cargo load factor continues to fall.

Globally, trade growth is languishing, and business uncertainty is compounded by the latest tariff increases in the US-China trade dispute.

"Global trade continues to suffer as trade tensions—particularly between the US and China—deepen. As a result, air cargo markets continue to contract. Nobody wins a trade war. Borders that are open to trade spread sustained prosperity. That's what our political leaders must focus on," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

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