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Air cargo traffic eased off in 2018, due to trade tensions and a drop in imports and exports, according to an annual report by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Freight volume, measured in freight tonne-kilometres (FTK), grew 4.5% in 2018, versus 9.5% in 2017. The international segment of freight traffic—that is, the freight transported internationally, accounting for 87% of all air freight—grew around 4.6%.

Scheduled international freight load factor, the ratio of average load to total freight capacity, is close to 2017 levels at 55%.

The report’s main focus was passenger traffic. International scheduled passenger traffic, as measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), grew 6.4% in 2018, a drop from the 8.4% rise in 2017.

Low-cost carrier activity grew at a faster rate than the world average, while load factors for air travel hit a record high of 81.9%.

The report also noted that average jet fuel prices increased by around 31% between 2017 and 2018, with low fuel prices helping airlines to remain profitable.

Source: International Airport Review

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