Air freight had good first quarter, but business now stagnates

"After a brief optimistic period, the global outlook for cargo shows that once again the business is stagnating," said the IATA statement.

While there is growth compared to the same month in 2014, there has been no actual growth in aggregated global cargo volumes since late last year, said the IATA statement.

Only the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern airlines reported growth in April. North American carriers reported flat demand, while Europe, Latin America and Africa reported year-on-year declines.

April data also revealed a slowdown from the growth for the first quarter of 2015, which averaged 5.3 per cent, which was in line with weakening in world trade growth.

"After a volatile start to 2015, the market is settling down, and it is clear that momentum in air freight growth is being lost," said IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler.

"First there is the structural challenge of world trade no longer expanding at a faster rate than domestic production. Layered on top of that trend we now see a weakening of economic indicators in the crucial air cargo markets of Asia-Pacific and Europe," he said.

Asia-Pacific carriers reported demand growth of 4.5 per cent in April compared to April 2014, below a capacity expansion of seven per cent.

Current trade volumes for emerging Asia markets are down 10 per cent, and the region has been affected by a slowdown in exports to Europe.

European carriers saw demand decline by 0.3 per cent in April, compared to a year ago while capacity grew by five per cent.

North American airlines reported demand growth of 0.1 per cent year-on-year while capacity was cut by 1.6 per cent.

Middle Eastern carriers saw demand grow by 14.1 per cent, on the back of increased trade within the region, along with network and capacity expansion. Capacity grew 18.5 per cent.

Latin American airlines reported a fall of 6.8 per cent in demand, while capacity grew by seven per cent. Month-on-month results for carriers in the region indicate that recent declines may have come to an end.

African airlines experienced a 0.2 per cent decline in demand and a 2.2 per cent decrease in capacity. The region still appears to be affected by the under-performance of the Nigerian and South African economies.

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