The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has reported that air cargo posted moderate demand in 2018.
ICAO said after the sharp pick-up in air freight growth during the inventory restocking in 2017, air cargo traffic growth moderated in 2018 adding: “This coincides with the softening demand drivers impacted by the trade tension and declining import and export orders.”
World scheduled freight traffic, measured in freight tonne-kilometres (FTK) grew modestly by 4.5 per cent in 2018, compared to the 9.5 per cent recorded in 2017.
ICAO said the international segment of freight traffic which represents nearly 87 per cent of total air freight grew by around 4.6 per cent while the scheduled international freight load factor remained at a similar level as last year at around 55 per cent.
The average jet fuel prices increased by approximately 31 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017 ICAO reported, but remained notably lower than the prices observed for the 10 years prior to 2015.
ICAO added: “The low fuel cost coupled with solid increase in traffic helped the airlines to maintain relatively high record of profitable level in 2018 albeit slightly lower from 2017.
“The airline industry is expected to end 2018 with another record operating profit of around USD 57 billion and an operating margin of 7.0 percent. The net profits for the Industry is expected to be around USD 34 billion with nearly half of this being generated by air carriers of North America.
“Deceleration in global economic growth forecasted by the World Bank could see moderation in traffic growth and profitability momentum in 2019.”