Unlike their global counterparts, Middle Eastern and African carriers saw higher freight volumes in September, with traffic surging 16.3 percent and 4.1 percent, year-over-year, respectively. Carriers in the Middle East, however, enjoyed a freight load factor of 46.1 percent in September, while African airlines recorded a dismal load factor of 24.1 percent — the lowest in any region.
Still, the International Air Transport Association explained in a press release, this is 0.6-percent higher than the cargo load factor African carriers posted in September 2011. African airlines also offered more available freight space in September, boosting capacity by 1.4 percent, year-over-year. Middle Eastern carriers, on the other hand, increased capacity by 6.9 percent, year-over-year.
Despite these numbers, September cargo volumes were largely on par with 2011 statistics. In total, airlines recorded a 0.6-percent, year-over-year, rise in airfreight demand in September despite curbing capacity by 0.6 percent, year-over-year. Capacity utilization also improved slightly in September, with freight load factor transitioning from 45.1 percent to 45.6 percent, year-over-year.
Unfortunately, these figures are largely deceiving, according to IATA. Although cargo improved moderately from a year-over-year perspective, volumes lagged 0.6 percent from August 2012. In the press release, IATA said that this drop represents the second month-over-month cargo decline in recent months and speaks to the global trend affecting cargo markets.
September freight volumes particularly lagged in North America and Latin America. North American cargo carriers saw traffic slide 1.1 percent, year-over-year, in September, amid a 3.1-percent, year-over-year, capacity drop. Even so, freight load factor in North America climbed 0.7 percent, year-over-year, to 35.2 percent, in September.
Latin American carriers enjoyed a slightly higher load factor than their North American counterparts — 37.8 percent — although this figure lagged 4.1 percent from September 2011. Also dipping in September was Latin American freight demand. Volumes in the region slowed 1.6 percent, year-over-year, in September, despite a 9-percent, year-over-year, capacity surge.
Capacity also outmatched demand in Europe in September. According to IATA, European carriers offered 1.2-percent more freight space than in September 2011, despite demand stalling 0.4 percent, year-over-year.
Asia-Pacific cargo carriers similarly recorded lower freight demand in September, with volumes falling 1.6 percent, year-over-year, amid a 3-percent, year-over-year, capacity drop. Still, this is a marked improvement from the 5.3-percent, year-over-year, decline in demand Asia-Pacific carriers reported in August, IATA explained in the press release.
The global aviation body also expressed its confidence that the introduction of new consumer projects, such as the iPhone5, could improve freight volumes moving forward.