Although global freight markets rebounded 5.2 percent, year-over-year, in February, this figure is somewhat distorted, according to the International Air Transport Association. Cargo volumes were still 1.2 percent lower than those handled in January, IATA revealed in a press release.
Even so, international freight demand plummeted 8 percent, year-over-year, in January, a loss attributable to the early Chinese New Year. What hurt cargo markets in January benefited them in February, however.
“[The global increase] was largely a result of cargo shipments that were postponed in January due to the Chinese New Year holiday and the comparison to the previous year, which was impacted by weak demand associated with the Arab Spring,” according to the press release.
Less unrest in the Gulf region also led to double-digit gains among Middle Eastern freight carriers in February. Airlines in this region reported an 18.2 percent, year-over-year, increase in cargo demand in February amid an 18.2 percent capacity surge.
Asia-Pacific airlines contributed the most to February’s cargo growth, however, posting a 10.2 percent, year-over-year, volume increase. African freight carriers also performed well in February, experiencing year-over-year gains of 3.2 percent.
Unfortunately, European and North American carriers handled lower cargo volumes in February, posting year-over-year losses of 1.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Latin American freight carriers experienced the most marketed declines in February, however, with cargo demand dropping 3.6 percent, year-over-year.
Such numbers speak to the “fragile” state of the global aviation sector, IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler explained. “Improvements in business confidence slowed in February,” he said in a statement. “This…implies that an uptick for cargo is not imminent.
“At the same time, airlines trying to recoup rising fuel costs could risk reduced volumes on price-sensitive market segments,” he continued. “Weak economic conditions and rising fuel costs are a double-whammy that an industry anticipating a 0.5-percent margin can ill afford.”