News & Industry Affairs / IATA

September 2019 IATA Air Freight Market Analysis
Another year-on-year fall, but freight volumes are levelling off


  • Growth in industry-wide air freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) remains weak, declining by 4.5% in annual terms in September. The decline was widespread, with annual freight volumes falling in all regions except Africa.
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, global FTKs have trended broadly sideways in the past few months. However, with escalating trade tensions, geopolitical and economical risks, and weak new export orders, drivers remain soft.
  • Air freight capacity continued to grow modestly, up 2.1% year-on-yearin September. Given the weakness in demand, the freight load factor is 3.2 percentage points lower than its level of a year ago.

Africa slows but remains in positive territory...
International freight volumes carried by airlines based in Africa increased by 2.1% year-on-year in September. This is down from a brisk 8.4% in August, and is the slowest outcome since February. Africa is the only region to have year-on-year FTK growth in each of the past 4 months. 

Another month of broad-based weakness

Growth in industry-wide freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) remained negative in September, with volumes down a sizeable 4.5% year-on-year. This closely follows a 4.2% fall in FTKs in August.
    In seasonally adjusted (SA) terms, the level of FTKs lifted slightly on a month-on-month basis, continuing the broadly sideways trend in freight volumes that emerged around March.
    Since then, the annualized growth rate in SA levels has been close to zero, after an annualized decline of 8.5% between Q3 2018 and Q1 2019. 
    Notwithstanding the ongoing weakness in the yearon-year (and year-to-date) growth outcome, removing the regular seasonal volatility in the monthly data gives a different perspective to recent developments. It clearly illustrates the fact that most of the decline in air freight volumes occurred in late 2018 and early 2019, with the downward trend having plateaued since that time. If the current trend is continued in the monthly outcomes, the year-on-year growth rate will return to positive territory in the early part of next year...Download the full document here. 

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