Global air cargo activity ticked up in April by 1.4 percent, year over year, after a 2.6-percent decline in March, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Capacity rose by 1.2 percent.
In the first four months of the year, activity has declined 0.6 percent, year over year, and capacity has basically been flat.
“The small improvement in April means that economic conditions have not deteriorated to the point of starting a market contraction. And if we look to emerging markets — particularly Latin America and the Middle East — we do see some encouraging signs of growth,” IATA’s director general, Tony Tyler, said in a statement.
North American carriers experienced a resurgent April, seeing a 0.1-percent drop in tonnage, after experiencing a 6.5-percent cargo decline in March. This improvement suggests to IATA officials that freight activity in the region has finally stabilized. The Asia-Pacific region also experienced a drop in freight in April, seeing a 0.4-percent fall, year over year, due to a weak manufacturing sector. Air cargo should turn around, however, as business confidence in Japan is at a 13-month high, officials said.
In Europe, April freight demand rose 0.9 percent, pointing to the health of European airlines relative to the same time last year. In Africa, freight demand shot up by 1.4 percent.
Latin America and the Middle East experienced the largest swing in freight activity in April, rising 12.2 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively. The Middle East stayed relatively strong after an 11.2-percent growth rate in March, and Latin American airlines saw results skyrocket from previous results in 2013.
“Airlines in emerging markets continue to post the strongest growth rates for air freight,” according to IATA. “Airlines in Latin America continue to receive support from resilient domestic demand, while network expansion and sustained trade growth have helped Middle Eastern airlines maintain solid expansion in air freight volumes.” - Jon Ross