The recent rebound in cargo led by markets in the Asia-Pacific, North America and the Middle East may be tempered by global political uncertainty and economic jitters, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says.
Cargo volumes, measured by freight tonne kilometres (FTK), rose 5.1 per cent in August, compared with the prior corresponding period.
It was the second consecutive month of strong growth, following the 6.1 per cent lift in July, IATA said.
“The outlook for air cargo is clearly getting better,” IATA chief executive Tony Tyler said in a statement.
Airlines in the Middle East reported strong cargo growth of 7.8 per cent, just a touch below their year-to-date average of 9.6 per cent, on the back of growing links to developing markets and the increasing amount of new commodities such as perishable items.
Asia-Pacific carriers also had a good month with cargo up 6.3 per cent and an increase in Chinese export orders pointed to future growth in the period ahead.
Also, cargo volumes were 5.5 per cent higher in North America, led by stronger business activity and positive economic growth.
However, Tyler said there were some “limiting factors on the extent of potential gains”, given demand for air cargo was growing more slowly than global economic activity.
“Businesses are reported to have more confidence in the future, but the list of political and economic risks continues to moderate how that confidence translates into actual activity,” Tyler said.
European carriers reported a slender 1.4 per cent growth in cargo amid deteriorating economic conditions in the Eurozone and sanctions on Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Latin America’s cargo market was also sluggish, growing at 1.1 per cent as regional trade activity fell and the Brazilian economy stayed weak.
IATA represents about 240 airlines and 84 per cent of global air traffic.