Global air cargo activity ticked up 1.2 percent in July, year over year, making a slight improvement from June's 0.9-percent result, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association.
July's result, which relied on growth in the Middle East and Europe to overcome sluggish Asian activity, was good for the highest activity level since the middle of 2011. Capacity is still on the rise, though, increasing 4.3 percent, year over year, which drove down load factors.
"The growth is encouraging, particularly in Europe. However, it is premature to say that air cargo may be emerging from the doldrums of the past 18 months," IATA's director general, Tony Tyler, said in a statement. "The weakness in Asia-Pacific freight markets and the deteriorating political situation in parts of the Middle East give ample reason for continued caution."
Middle Eastern airline activity shot up 14.4 percent, year over year, while capacity increased 11.1 percent. European airlines saw freight growth of 1.5 percent in July.
In North America, activity fell 1.1 percent in July, which is down from June's result. In the first seven months of 2013, activity has decreased 1.7 percent. Domestically, results are volatile, but officials seem to think business confidence and an improving economy will help air freight in the near term. - Jon Ross