October 2019 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Stable cargo volumes point to a weak start to the peak season


  • Industry-wide freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) decreased by 3.5% in October 2019 compared to a year ago. This represents the 12th consecutive month of annual decline.
  • Recent monthly cargo volume outcomes have been stable in seasonally adjusted terms, amidst a thawing in US-China trade talks and tentative indications of modest improvement in some leading indicators. Nonetheless the air freight market remains weak and the outlook uncertain.
  • International FTKs are currently 4.0% lower than their year ago levels, with considerable disparity across regional performance. Africa leads the way, with year-on-year growth of almost 13%. Annual growth is negative across all other regions, with the largest air cargo region, Asia Pacific, showing FTKs down 6% vs a year ago.

Africa tops the growth ranking once more…
Airlines registered in Africa saw their international FTKs surge by 12.7% in annual terms in October, the strongest growth outcome for the region since early 2018. Broadly speaking, SA freight volumes in the region have been on an upward trend since Q4 2018. As discussed previously, this trend is underpinned, in part, by large-scale foreign investment, in particular from Asia, which creates new business and trade opportunities. This is also reflected in the specific Africa-Asia route-level data where freight volumes were up 23% annually in September. Africa-Asia accounts for much of the recent growth in the region’s FTK outcomes, despite being a smaller market than, say Africa-Europe

A weak start to the freight peak season…

For the start of the traditional peak season in air freight – which corresponds to a number of key sales events (Singles Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday) and the rush to deliver products before the end-of-year holidays – industry-wide freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) decreased by 3.5% in October 2019 versus a year ago..Download the full document here. 

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