News & Industry Affairs/IATA news

February 2019 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Air cargo volumes fall further in February


Highlights of the February 2019 Air Freight Market Analysis

  • Industry-wide freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) for February were 4.7% below their level of February 2018; the slowest annual rate of growth in three years.
  • In contrast to demand, air freight capacity has grown moderately over the past 12 months, rising by 2.7% in year-on-year terms. Consequently, the freight load factor is currently 3.5 percentage points lower than a year ago.
  • Latin America was the only region to register a positive year-on-year rate of FTK growth this month.
  • The negative impact of the softness in global trade and economic indicators is becoming increasingly evident in the recent air freight outcomes. Ongoing trade tensions continue to weigh upon the industry.

African volumes also fall substantially...
African carriers also saw a considerable decline in FTKs this month, compared with a year ago; freight volumes are down almost 8% year-on-year. The African market is much smaller than Asia Pacific (1.5% of total international FTKs in 2018) and the data can be more volatile, as we have seen in recent months. Looking through this, following strong growth in late 2016 and into 2017 which was only partly unwound last year, SA international FTKs for the African carriers are still around 25% higher than their level of three years ago.


Air cargo volumes continue to fall

Industry-wide FTK growth maintained its weak start to 2019 in the latest data. Air cargo volumes in February were a sizeable 4.7% lower than their year-ago level. 

    This marked the 4th consecutive month of negative year-on-year growth, and is the slowest pace in three years. Although February typically delivers a soft outcome, the outsized nature of this month’s decline is clear.

    In seasonally-adjusted (SA) terms, where we adjust for the regular monthly data volatility, the level of FTKs has fallen by around 4.5% over the past six months, following a period of relative stability.

    SA FTKs are now clearly trending downwards and have returned to levels last seen in the middle months of 2017. The deterioration in freight demand over the recent period has been broad-based, across all regions.


Weakness in trade and leading indicator outcomes…

We have noted previously that a pull-back in FTK growth was to be expected following the temporary boost to air freight demand from the global inventory restocking cycle, which delivered near double-digit growth in 2017....Download the full document here. 

Back to IATA news >