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Air cargo sector on course for best period since 2010

The air cargo industry on track to achieve its strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis rebound in 2010, n...

James Henderson
|Jan 11|magazine6 min read

The air cargo industry on track to achieve its strongest operational and financial performance since the post-global financial crisis rebound in 2010, new figures have revealed.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), climbed 8.8% in November 2017 compared to the year-earlier period.

This was an increase from the 5.8% annual growth recorded in October 2017. Despite indicators pointing to air cargo having passed a cyclical growth peak, demand remains strong.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 4.0% year-on-year in November. This was the 16th consecutive month in which demand growth outstripped capacity growth, which is positive for industry load factors, yields, and financial performance.

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The uptick in freight growth coincides with the traditional period of strong demand seen in the fourth quarter.

November's robust performance puts The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for manufacturing and export orders, which has tracked sideways for much of 2017, reached a seven-year high in the fourth quarter signifying that growth is carrying momentum into 2018.

“Air freight demand remains robust. November showed 8.8% year-on-year growth, keeping up the momentum that will make 2017 the strongest year for air cargo since 2010,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.

“And there are several indicators that 2018 will be a good year as well. In particular, buoyant consumer confidence, the growth of international e-commerce and the broad-based global economic upturn are cause for optimism as we head into the New Year.”