LONDON: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says global air freight demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), increased 12.1 per cent year on year in August 2017.
This was the fifth time in six months of double-digit gains on the previous year's performance. Demand is growing at exceptional speed when compared to the five-year average growth rate of 4.4 per cent.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), grew by 4.7 per cent year-on-year in August 2017. Demand growth continues to significantly outstrip capacity growth, which is positive for industry load factors, yields, and financial performance.
The strong performance of air freight demand corresponds with the pick-up in global trade. World trade volumes grew 4.2 per cent in the first seven months of 2017 compared to 2016, their strongest performance since 2011.
This is consistent with rising export orders, which are currently around their highest levels since March 2011, and upbeat business confidence indicators.
The outlook for air freight remains strong. With several months of double-digit growth in 2017, the current IATA forecast of 7.5 per cent growth in air freight demand for 2017 appears to have significant upside potential even if we are approaching a cyclical peak.
"Air cargo had another stellar performance in August. Demand for air cargo grew at a double-digit rate for the fourth month in a row - outperforming demand for passenger travel for the fourth consecutive month," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
"Rapid growth in cargo demand means that cargo capacity is now growing in response to real cargo demand rather than automatically as carriers responded to passenger demand. The pace of capacity growth, however, has slowed even as freighter fleets are being utilised more intensely. Overall, that should be good news for much beleaguered cargo yields," he said.