Air freight demand continued its downward trajectory in February according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased 4.7 per cent in February 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This was the fourth consecutive month of negative year-on-year growth and the worst performance in the last three years.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 2.7 per cent year-on-year in February 2019. This was the 12th month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand growth.
The association said demand for air cargo continues to face significant headwinds: trade tensions weigh on the industry; global economic activity and consumer confidence have weakened; and the purchasing managers index (PMI) for manufacturing and export orders has indicated falling global export orders since September 2018.
IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac said: “Cargo is in the doldrums with smaller volumes being shipped over the last four months than a year ago. And with order books weakening, consumer confidence deteriorating and trade tensions hanging over the industry, it is difficult to see an early turnaround.
“The industry is adapting to new markets for e-commerce and special cargo shipments. But the bigger challenge is trade is slowing. Governments need to realize the damage being done by protectionist measures. Nobody wins a trade war. We all do better when borders are open to people and to trade.”