KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 (Bernama) – Demand for global air freight grew 3.5 per cent in 2018 compared with 9.7 per cent in 2017 in the face of weakening global trade, sagging consumer confidence and geopolitical headwinds..
IATA director-general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said air cargo demand lost momentum towards the end of 2018.
“We are cautiously optimistic that demand will grow in the region of 3.7 per cent in 2019.
“But, with the persistent trade tensions and protectionist actions by some governments, there is a significant downside risk. Keeping borders open to people and to trade is critical,” he said in a statement today.
Meanwhile, freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 5.4 per cent in 2018, outpacing annual growth in demand.
This has exerted downward pressure on load factor but yields proved resilient.
Air cargo’s performance in 2018 was sealed by softening demand in December, down 0.5 per cent, year-on-year.
“This was the worst performance since March 2016. Freight capacity, however, grew by 3.8 per cent and this was the tenth month in a row that year-on-year capacity growth outstripped demand growth,” the statement added.
As for the performance of Asia-Pacific carriers, IATA said they posted the weakest growth of any region in December 2018 with a decrease in demand of 4.5 per cent compared with the same period in 2017 while capacity increased 2.6 per cent.
The weaker performance in December contributed to growth in freight demand of only 1.7 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017.
“The weaker performance of Asia-Pacific carriers in 2018 largely reflects a slowing in demand for exports from the region’s major exporters (China, Japan and Korea).
“Signs of a moderation in economic activity in China and an escalation of trade tensions continue to pose a downside risk to air cargo in Asia-Pacific.
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Copyright Malaysian National News Agency Feb 7, 2019
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