Global air freight demand remains strong, growth may be ebbing

Demand for global air freight increased 5.9 percent in October, outpacing the 3.2 percent average growth rate in air freight capacity over the last decade, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported on Friday.

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The demand mean for global air freight in October slowed from the 9.2 percent annual growth reported in September. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers, increased by 3.7 percent year-over October. That marked the 15th consecutive month with capacity gains.

“Demand for air freight grew by 5.9 percent in October. And tightening supply conditions in the fourth quarter should see the air cargo industry deliver its strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis rebound in 2010,” Alexandre de Juniac, director-general and CEO of IATA, said.

Despite strong cargo demand in October, the IATA report indicates that its growth may have ebbed. With the inventory-to-sales ratio moving sideways, companies may not rush to restock inventories.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw year-over freight volumes increase by 4.4 percent and capacity increase by 3.9 percent, European airlines saw freight demand increase by 6.4 percent and capacity increase by 2.5 percent, Middle Eastern airlines saw freight volumes increase by 4.6 percent and freight capacity increase by 3.4 percent, Latin American airlines saw freight demand increase by 7.2 percent and freight capacity increase by 4.4 percent.

African carriers, meanwhile, saw freight volumes increase 30.3 percent and freight capacity increase by 9.2 percent — the largest year-over gains of any region.