IATA has reported a year-on-year increase of 8.4% in air freight demand for this February, as measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTK).
Adjusting for the fact that 2016 was a leap year, this goes up to 12%, which is four times as much as the five-year average rate of 3%. Meanwhile, capacity dropped by 0.4%.
IATA attributes this growth to “an uptick in world trade which corresponds with new global export orders remaining at elevating levels in March”. In particular, there has been an increase in the trade of semi-conductor materials that are used in consumer electronics, as well as in pharmaceuticals and cross-border e-commerce.
The Asia Pacific region saw the biggest boost in growth at 11.8%, followed by Africa at 10.6%, Europe and 10.5%, North America at 5.8% and the Middle East at 3.4%. Latin America contracted by 4.9%.
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO of IATA, stressed that modernisation is the way to ensure growth in the longer term: “[pushing] ahead with the elements of the e-cargo vision—including the e-air waybill which is nearing 50% market penetration.”