Global air freight markets increased 0.1 per cent in March compared to the same month in 2018, according to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
While this is a significant improvement on the 4.9 per cent contraction in February, in seasonally adjusted terms, IATA said demand is still down 1.5 per cent over the past year.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 3.1 per cent year-on-year in March 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for 11 out of the last 12 months.
IATA said demand for air cargo continues to face significant headwinds including a fall of one per cent in global trade volumes over the last year, while global economic activity and consumer confidence continue to weaken.
The association also said the export order component of the global manufacturers Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has indicated falling global export orders since September 2018.
Industry confidence regarding the outlook, however remains relatively upbeat with only 13% of respondents from IATA’s Business Confidence Survey expecting to see a decrease in freight volumes in 2019 compared to 2018.
IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac said: “Year-on-year demand for air freight edged back into positive territory in March with 0.1% growth. After four consecutive months of contraction, this is an encouraging development.
“But the headwinds from weakening global trade, growing trade tensions and shrinking order books have not gone away.”