IATA: Demand maintains momentum in September

Global cargo demand is sustaining moderate momentum with a rise in cargo tonne kilometres (CTK) in September, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Demand measured in CTK was up 1.9% year-on-year despite global trade proving weak and global manufacturing production continuing to decline.

Capacity measured in available CTK was up 11% compared to September last year mainly due to belly capacity rising over 30% as airlines ramped up operations to meet peak northern summer travel season demand.

The manufacturing output Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 49.7 and the new export orders PMI was 47.7 in September, a slight improvement over August but still below the critical 50-point threshold, indicating a continuing annual decline in global manufacturing production and exports.

Global cross-border trade contracted in August by 3.8% year-on-year, the fifth consecutive contraction, reflecting the cooling global macroeconomic environment.

The average price of jet fuel was $131 per barrel, up 43.1% from May this year, and recouping some of the added costs from surcharges contributed to the first increase in air cargo yields since November last year.

Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA, says, “Air cargo eked out modest growth (1.9%) in September despite falling trade volumes and high jet fuel prices. That clearly shows the strength of air cargo’s value proposition. With the key export order and manufacturing PMIs hovering near positive territory, we can be cautiously optimistic for a strong year-end peak season.”

Airlines in Asia-Pacific were up 7.7% in September with the Europe-Asia trade lane up 9.6%, Middle East-Asia up 7% and Africa-Asia up 12.8%.

North American carriers posted the weakest performance, down 2.2% despite the North America-Asia trade lane posting better results and the decline on the North America-Europe lane stabilising.

Europe had a weak month, down 1.5% in September compared to 0.6% in August with intra-Europe posting a larger contraction than in August, 5.7% compared to 5.2%, but Middle East-Europe improved from 0.5% growth in August to 3.3% in September.

The Middle East was up 2.5% compared to 1.3% in August with the Middle East-Asia and Middle East-Europe lanes proving strong.

Latin America grew 2.3% but this was down considerably on August when the region posted growth of 6.2%.

Africa was down 0.1% year-on-year despite the strong Africa-Asia trade lane but the performance was strong compared to August when volumes declined 3%.