African airlines post fastest growth in air cargo market against global drop in demand
DURBAN – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased by 1.1 percent in November 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.
This marks the thirteenth consecutive month of year-on-year declines in freight volumes.
Despite the decline in demand, November’s performance was the best in eight months, with the slowest year-on-year rate of contraction recorded since March 2019. In part, November’s outcome reflects the growing importance of large e-commerce events such as Singles Day in Asia and Black Friday.
While international e-commerce continues to grow, overall air cargo demand continues to face headwinds from the effects of the trade war between the US and China, the deterioration in world trade, and a broad-based slowing in global economic growth.
"Demand for air cargo in November was down 1.1 percent compared to the previous year. That’s better than the 3.5 percent decline posted in October. But it is a big disappointment considering that the fourth quarter is usually air cargo’s peak season. Looking forward, signs of a thawing in US-China trade tensions are good news. But trading conditions at present remain very challenging,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 2.9 percent year-on-year in November 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 19 consecutive months.
Airlines in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air freight volumes in November 2019, while North American carriers experienced a more moderate decline. Europe and Africa were the only regions to record growth in air freight demand compared to November 2018.
African carriers posted the fastest growth of any region in November 2019, with an increase in demand of 19.8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Strong trade and investment links with Asia contributed to the positive performance. Capacity grew 13.7 percent year-on-year.