November 7, 2019

Global air freight markets posted 11th consecutive decline in September

Streak is longest slump since the global financial crisis in 2008, IATA says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Global air freight markets slumped again in September, posting their 11th consecutive month of year-on-year declines in freight volumes, the longest period since the global financial crisis in 2008, an industry group said today.

Demand in the sector, as measured by freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased by 4.5% in September 2019, compared to the same period in 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Despite the flagging demand, freight capacity rose by 2.1% year-on-year in September 2019 as measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs). Due to that imbalance, capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for the 17th consecutive month.

According to IATA, the reasons for the industry's terrible performance include the intensifying trade war between the U.S. and China, and between South Korea and Japan; a broader deterioration in global trade; and weakness in some key economic drivers.

For example, the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) tracking new manufacturing export orders has pointed to falling orders since September 2018, providing a measure for the continuing fall of global export orders.

"The U.S.-China trade war continues to take its toll on the air cargo industry," Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO, said in a release. "October's pause on tariff hikes between Washington and Beijing is good news. But trillions of dollars of trade is already affected, which helped fuel September's 4.5% year-on-year fall in demand.  And we can expect the tough business environment for air cargo to continue."

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