Global air freight volumes were up 3.5% in 2018

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that global air freight demand grew by 3.5% in 2018, when compared to 2017. This was significantly lower than the extraordinary 9.7% growth recorded in 2017.

IATA says air cargo’s weaker growth performance in 2018 was sealed by a softening in demand in December. Year-on-year, December demand decreased by 0.5%. This was the worst performance since March 2016.

Airlines in all regions with the exception of Africa reported an annual increase in demand in 2018.

North American airlines posted an annual growth in demand in 2018 of 6.8% and European airlines saw an annual growth in demand for air cargo of 3.2% in 2018.

Asia-Pacific carriers’ weaker performance in December contributed to growth in freight demand of only 1.7% in 2018 compared to 2017.

Middle Eastern carriers registered an annual increase in demand of 3.9% in 2018. Annual growth in freight demand among Latin America carriers in 2018 increased by 5.8%. African carriers’ freight demand decreased by 1.3%.

“Air cargo demand lost momentum towards the end of 2018 in the face of weakening global trade, sagging consumer confidence and geopolitical headwinds. Still, demand grew by 3.5% compared to 2017. We are cautiously optimistic that demand will grow in the region of 3.7% in 2019. But with the persistence of trade tensions and protectionist actions by some governments there is significant downside risk. Keeping borders open to people and to trade is critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

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