The International Air Transport Association has released demand growth results for global air freight markets for April 2016 showing a 3.2 per cent increase in demand measured in freight tonne kilometres compared to the same period last year.
Yields remained pressured as April freight capacity (measured in available freight tonne kilometres or increased by 6.6 per cent year-on-year.
The increase in demand was broad-based across all regions with the exception of Latin America.
The strongest growth occurred in the Middle East and Europe, with April demand up by 7.7 per cent and 6.8 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.
While growth appears to be stronger than in the preceding months of 2016, this is largely due to the disappearance from the comparison data of distorting factors associated with the 2015 strike at seaports on the US West Coast.
Overall, the demand for air cargo remains soft and lags behind the relatively robust growth on the passenger side of the business.
This is largely driven by weak world trade.
The first quarter of 2016 saw the first annual decline in trade volumes since the global financial crisis in 2009, and the World Trade Organisation predicts only sluggish growth for the remainder of 2016.
“While the April uptick in demand growth for air cargo is encouraging, the overall economic environment is not.
“The decline in global trade does not bode well for air cargo markets in the months ahead,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.