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Global air freight demand still falling
Qatar Airways Cargo 777 Freighter. © Boeing

Global air freight demand still falling

Data released by IATA show a continuation of the downward trajectory seen in recent months.

Global air freight data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased 4.7% in February 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

IATA notes that this was the fourth consecutive month of negative year-on-year growth and the worst performance in the last three years.
Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 2.7% year-on-year in February 2019. This was the twelfth month in a row that capacity growth outstripped demand growth.

According to IATA, factors weighing on the air cargo market include:

  • trade tensions;

  • weaker global economic activity and consumer confidence;

  • falling global export orders since September 2018.


All regions reported a contraction in year-on-year demand growth in February 2019 compared to the same period the previous year, except for Latin America. Asia-Pacific airlines saw the sharpest fall (–11.6%), followed by Africa (–8.5%), Middle East (–1.6%), Europe (–1%), North America (0.7%). Airlines in Latin America saw demand pick up by 2.8%.

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