Global air freight demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased by 1.1% in November 2019 as compared to the same period in 2018, while the freight capacity year-on-year rose by 2.9%, revealed the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday.

While it is the thirteenth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in freight volumes, the capacity growth surpassed demand growth for the 19th consecutive month.  

Despite the decline in demand, November’s performance was the best in eight months, with the slowest year-on-year rate of contraction recorded since March 2019. In part, November’s outcome reflects the growing importance of large e-commerce events such as Singles Day and Black Friday.  

According to the report- the US-China trade war, deterioration in world trade and slowdown in global economic growth were the reasons behind the decline in the overall air cargo demand.

“Air cargo recovered slightly in November, with demand down 1.1% – a significant improvement over the 3.5% decrease in October. However, the fourth quarter is a peak season for air cargo. So, a decline in growth is still a disappointment. Looking forward, signs of a thawing in US-China trade tensions are good news but there is still a long way to go if cargo is to achieve 2.0% growth forecast in 2020.”

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO

Airlines in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East yet again suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air freight volumes in November 2019, while Europe and Africa were the only regions to record growth in air freight demand compared to November last year

Airlines in Asia-pacific, significantly affected by the US-China trade war, saw the sharpest drop in freight demand in the month of November.

The region reported a contraction of 3.7% in freight demand and a 1.8% increment in capacity in November 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.  

The US-China trade war affected the region, with demand on large Asia – North America market down 6.5% year-on-year in October.

However, the softening of US-China trade relations and robust economic growth in key regional economies are positive developments.