ACI: Air freight declining and the rest of 2019 set to be tough

posted on 26th June 2019 by Justin Burns

The Airports Council International (ACI) World has reported that global air freight demand fell again in April and forecasts a tough rest of the year for the industry.

In April, ACI World said air cargo demand saw a decline of 3.6 per cent and the year-to-date (YTD) result for the industry now stands at a loss of 2.6 per cent.

“With trade conflicts between the United States and its major partners remaining unresolved, and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East flaring up again, the indications are that 2019 could be a difficult year for the air freight market,” said ACI World director general, Angela Gittens.

“The global backdrop remains weak for both emerging and advanced economies and it remains uncertain whether trade tensions can be resolved and whether key macroeconomic indicators such as consumption and direct investment will regain momentum before the end of the year.

After temporarily recovering some ground in March by slowing its decline, international freight once again posted a significant loss in April, losing 6.6 per cent on a year-over-year (YOY) basis. The YTD figure stands at -4.4 per cent, more than one percentage point below its result for the first quarter of 2019. Continuing the general trend for the last months, domestic freight – mostly driven by activity in North America – remained positive, and grew 3.8 per cent for April and has grown 1.5 per cent on a YTD basis.

Of the major regional markets, only North America posted growth in April, gaining 1.4 per cent and up 0.7 per cent on a YTD basis. The region’s international freight was still down for 2019, by 4.2 per cent for the four first months of the year.

Europe’s freight volume fell by 5.5 per cent during the month, and has fallen 3.1 per cent YTD. Asia-Pacific had a worse result, losing seven per cent against April 2018 and falling 5.7 per cent for the first four months of 2019. The region was the only one to also post negative figures for domestic freight, 3.1 per cent in April.

Latin America-Caribbean’s freight volume fell -2.1 per cent in April, bringing its YTD figure to a decline of 0.7 per cent. The Middle East also declined, 4.3 per cent against April 2018. It fell 2.3 per cent for the first four months of the year.

Freight volume in Africa, which has been the most consistent source of freight growth in 2019, grew 6.8 per cent during the month. Though its YTD figure of +3.6 per cent remains moderate, it still stands more than six percentage points above the global industry’s year-to-date growth rate of 2.6 per cent.