Air cargo volumes grew modestly in February, hitting a 2.5-percent rise over last October’s low point and showing an adjusted 2-percent year-over-year growth.
Before the shifting date of the Chinese New Year and impact of 2012’s leap day were taken into account, year-over-year volumes showed a 6.2-percent decline in February.
In the first two months of the year, international volumes are down by 1 percent on a 0.8-percent decline in capacity, year over year. Domestic cargo is up by 6.5 percent even with a 2 percent increase in capacity. Total market growth, however, is flat, with a slight decrease in capacity.
February continued the trend of a weak air cargo recovery continuing over from the fourth quarter of 2012, when the cargo market finally stabilized. Tony Tyler, IATA’s chief executive officer, noted the Eurozone crisis still is “far from over” and continued economic uncertainty will have an impact on air cargo growth.
“February’s air cargo performance has sustained the weak recovery that began in the fourth quarter of 2012,” Tyler said in a statement. “This is welcome news after two consecutive years of contraction. It is even better news that this growth is expected to pick up moderately as the year progresses. But improvements cannot be taken for granted. “
As with January, airlines operating in the Middle East experienced large increases in traffic with 12.3 percent year-over-year growth, but only a 0.8-percent bump from January to February. Latin American freight was up by 2.9 percent as African freight rose by 2 percent.
The Chinese New Year impacted Asia volumes the most, with carriers in the region experiencing a 14.7-percent decline in freight, year over year. European freight fell by 5.4 percent and North American cargo declined by 3.1 percent on capacity declines of 3 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.
Overall, IATA has seen a turnaround in the global economy and a ramping up of ocean activity, but this increased demand hasn’t yet translated to more air cargo flights. Analysts can’t yet tell if this is the result of a long-term modal shift or simply a temporary move toward the ocean. - Jon Ross