Air freight demand decreases 1% in November on trade tensions
A potential US-China trade deal could bode well for demand recovery, Iata chief executive says
Air freight demand globally decreased 1 per cent in November, compared to the same period last year due to trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies - the US and China, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata) data.
However, November’s performance was the best in eight months, with the slowest year-on-year rate of contraction recorded since March 2019, as big large e-commerce events such as Singles Day in Asia and Black Friday spurred demand for freight.
“Demand for air cargo.... [was] better than the 3.5 per cent decline posted in October,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and chief executive in a statement on Wednesday.
“But it is a big disappointment considering that the fourth quarter is usually air cargo’s peak season. Looking forward, signs of a thawing in US-China trade tensions are good news. But trading conditions at present remain very challenging.”
Airlines in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East suffered sharper declines in total air freight volumes in November 2019, while their counterparts in North American experienced a more moderate drop. Europe and Africa were the only regions to record demand year-on-year growth in air freight in November, Iata said.
Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes decreased 3 per cent in November 2019 compared to the year-earlier period. It is however, a significant improvement over the 5.7 per cent decrease in October. Escalating geopolitical tensions, however, can threaten the business of regional carriers going forward , according to Iata.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight contract by 3.7 per cent in November 2019, compared to the year-earlier period. For North American airlines, it was 1.1 per cent and Latin American airlines saw a decrease in freight demand of 3.4 per cent over the same period.
European and African airlines, on the other hand, posted increase in freight demand of 2.6 per cent and 19.8 per cent, respectively.
Strong trade and investment links with Asia contributed to the positive performance of African airlines, where as in Europe, it was due to better than expected economic activity in the third quarter in some of the region’s large economies, Iata said.
Updated: January 8, 2020 08:15 PM