Air freight was up 5.9 percent in March compared to the previous year, and capacity was also up 3.4 percent, according to information released Monday by the International Air Transport Association.
IATA noted that business conditions in the United States and Europe provide “a reason to be cautiously optimistic for a resumption of growth in the months ahead.”
It added that rising export orders in those markets was one reason for an upswing.
“Cargo markets had a boost in the last quarter of 2013, but have now leveled off,” IATA’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler said in a statement. “It is a competitive industry with growing capacity chasing weak demand. The business cycle will eventually swing upwards. But the air cargo industry also needs to improve its value proposition if it is to attract growth when markets improve. Modernizing air cargo processes and infrastructure offers the potential to cut end-to-end shipping times by up to 48 hours. We cannot let market doldrums hold us back from this critical competitive gain.”
In North America, carriers grew 1.9 percent year-over-year, IATA reported. It said slower growth could be a reflection of difficult winter weather in the first quarter of the year.