The International Air Transport Association reported November 2014 data for global air freight markets showing that demand measured in freight tonne kilometers grew 4.2 per cent compared to November 2013.
Capacity grew by 3.3 per cent over the previous November. Compared to October 2014, air freight demand expanded by a healthy 0.8 per cent.
The most significant growth was recorded by carriers in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, at 5.9 per cent and 12.9 per cent, respectively.
Carriers in these regions captured the vast majority of the global increase (93 per cent).
Carriers in Asia-Pacific accounted for 55 per cent of the total year-on-year growth (with a market share of 39.7 per cent), while airlines in the Middle East region contributed a further 38 per cent of growth (with a market share of 13.3 per cent).
An important development emerged at the end of 2014 which, if it continues, bodes well for air freight markets.
Air freight is closely linked to world trade (by value about a third of goods traded internationally are shipped by air).
Air cargo growth stagnated from 2011 as world trade volumes basically grew in tandem with domestic production.
A strong growth trend in cross-border trade emerged over the second half of 2014 (while domestic industrial production remained stable) which has had a positive impact on air cargo volumes.
“More goods are being traded internationally and that is fuelling the growth in air freight.
“It was clear in November that most of that growth is being captured by carriers in the dynamic and relatively business-friendly Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.
“This year we expect air freight markets to expand by 4.5 per cent, outpacing projected growth in world trade (four per cent).
“But that optimism is tempered by the many macro-economic and political risks that continue to impact trade flows,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general.