Air cargo markets continued a trend of modest improvement in August, with air freight demand increasing by 3.6 percent compared to the same period a year ago, according to a new report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Middle Eastern carriers experienced the highest increase in demand with 23.8 percent compared to August 2012, although IATA contributed this increase to the impact of the Ramadan holiday following a month earlier than usual.
But IATA was most concerned with airlines in the Asia-Pacific region, which experienced a 0.2 percent decrease. Asia-Pacific carriers control 38 percent of the global air cargo market share, the largest of any region and have not been experiencing the type of growth that IATA had projected for 2013.
“There are some signs of improvement in demand, but the air freight business remains very tough. Freight volumes are only now reaching the levels of 2011 when the cargo business peaked with revenues of $67 billion," said Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of IATA.
The association is projecting $59 billion in revenues from air cargo globally for 2013, which would return the industry to "2007 levels," according to Tyler.
"But to earn that revenue, we will be moving nearly 17 percent more cargo and dealing with a 40 percent hike in jet fuel. The road ahead will be challenging," Tyler added.