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Asia-Pacific bears sharpest drop in November 2019 air freight demand: IATA

January 8, 2020: According to the November 2019 air freight results of The International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines of Asia-Pacific saw demand for air freight contract by 3.7 percent, compared to the same period in 2018.

The US-China trade war has significantly affected the region, with demand on large Asia - North America market down 6.5% year-on-year in October.
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The US-China trade war has significantly affected the region, with demand on large Asia - North America market down 6.5% year-on-year in October.

January 8, 2020: According to the November 2019 air freight results of The International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines of Asia-Pacific saw demand for air freight contract by 3.7 percent, compared to the same period in 2018.

This was the sharpest drop in cargo demand of any region for the month. Capacity increased by 1.8 percent. The US-China trade war has significantly affected the region, with demand on large Asia - North America market down 6.5percent year-on-year in October (latest available data). However, the thawing of US-China trade relations and robust economic growth in key regional economies are positive developments.

IATA data for all global air freight markets showed demand, measured in freight tonne-kilometres (FTKs), decreased by 1.1percent in November 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This marks the thirteenth consecutive month of year-on-year declines in freight volumes.

Despite the decline in demand, November’s performance was the best in eight months, with the slowest year-on-year rate of contraction recorded since March 2019. In part, November’s outcome reflects the growing importance of large e-commerce events such as Singles Day and Black Friday.


While international e-commerce continues to grow, overall air cargo demand continued to face headwinds from the effects of the trade war between the US and China, the deterioration in world trade, and a broad-based slowing in global economic growth.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), rose by 2.9percent year-on-year in November 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for the 19th consecutive month.

“Air cargo recovered slightly in November, with demand down 1.1percent - a significant improvement over the 3.5percent decrease in October. However, the fourth quarter is a peak season for air cargo. So, a decline in growth is still a disappointment. Looking forward, signs of a thawing in US-China trade tensions are good news but there is still a long way to go if cargo is to achieve 2.0percent growth forecast in 2020,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO, IATA.



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