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Air Cargo Market Recovery Strengthening

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

25 February 2015


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released full-year air cargo data for 2014 showing that freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) grew by 4.5 percent, compared with 2013 levels. This is a significant acceleration from the 1.4 percent recorded in 2013 over 2012.

The Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions experienced the highest rates of growth, of 46 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Growth was weaker in Europe and the Latin American market contracted.

On a region-by-region basis:

  • Asia-Pacific airlines saw FTKs grow by 5.9 percent in December, and by 5.4 percent for 2014 overall. The Japanese and Chinese markets were particularly strong. Overall capacity expanded by 5.7 percent in 2014. This lead to a slight fall in load factor to 55.4 percent, although this was the strongest load factor of any region.
  • North American airlines saw FTKs grow by 2.8 percent in December and by 2.4 percent for 2014 overall. This was an improvement on 2013 when volumes fell by 0.4 percent. After a slow start, growth accelerated, driven by import and export demand. Carriers in the region cut back capacity in 2014 by 0.5 percent, helping to underpin the load factor (35.3 percent).
  • European airlines saw FTKs grow by 2.3 percent in December and by two percent for 2014 overall. The Eurozone remains weak and close to recession, with the effects of Russian sanctions also having an impact. Load factors also fell in 2014 as capacity expanded by three percent.
  • Middle Eastern airlines saw FTKs grow by 11.3 percent in December and by 11.0 percent for 2014 overall. This was the strongest growth of any region. Airlines in the region have extended their networks and expanded capacity by 11.1 percent. The region was responsible for over 37 percent of the total increase in global freight capacity in 2014.
  • Latin American airlines saw FTKs fall by 4.5 percent in December and grow by 0.1 percent for 2014 overall. This was the only region to report a decline. Capacity grew by 0.3 percent in 2014.
  • African airlines saw FTKs grow by 12.2 percent in December and by 6.7 percent for 2014 overall. Although Nigeria and South Africa under performed during parts of 2014, regional trade activity held-up, supporting demand for the air transportation of goods. Capacity rose by just 0.9 percent for the year as a whole, helping to strengthen the load factor.

Tony Tyler, IATA's Director General and CEO, said: "After several years of stagnation, the air cargo business is growing again. This is largely being driven by the uptick in world trade over the second half of 2014. Recent concerns over the health of the global economy and a corresponding fall in business confidence have not yet impacted air cargo. But it is a downside risk that will need to be watched carefully as we move through 2015."

TAGS: Russia | South Africa | environment | business | Niger | Nigeria | aviation | manufacturing | Brazil | trade | Argentina | Japan | Europe | Asia-Pacific | North America | Africa | Middle East

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