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Asia Pacific carriers report drop in cargo volume

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the decrease in air freight volumes, Asia-Pacific based carriers are seen to improve as better demand in advanced economies is expected to drive export growth in some countries, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Latest data from IATA showed that Asia-Pacific carriers saw a slight fall of 1.5 percent in freight ton kilometers (FTKs) in November, while capacity expanded by 3.2 percent.

“The latest estimation of monthly volumes for Asia-Pacific airlines suggests the downward trend is bottoming out. Much of that is a result of better demand conditions in advanced economies, which are supporting a slight pick-up in export growth in some Asian nations,” IATA director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said.

Steady increase in exports has been recorded in Japan since mid-2015, while improvements in export orders in China in the last quarter was also evident, indicating positive export activities until early 2016.

Meanwhile, global air freight volumes were down 1.2 percent in November 2015 compared to a year ago, but total cargo volumes have expanded, indicating the decline in cargo demand is starting to bottom out and trade volumes beginning to stabilize.

“The freight performance in November was a mixed bag. The downward trend in FTK volumes appears to be bottoming out. But there is a great deal of uncertainty. The current volatility of stock markets shows how much the health of the global economy – upon which air cargo depends – remains on a knife-edge,” Tyler said.

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Furthermore, airlines in the Latin American region reported a sharp fall of 6.4 percent in November as economic and political conditions in Brazil continue to worsen and regional trade activity has been volatile over the recent months.

African airlines which carry a small part of worldwide FTKs, recorded a six percent decrease in November year-on-year but trade to and from the region continues to expand slowly after the under-performance of major economies during the early parts of 2015.

North American carriers, likewise, experienced a decline of 3.2 percent year-on-year as airlines in the region have experienced a significant decline in FTK volumes since the boost from modal shift due to seaport congestion earlier in 2015.

European carriers reported weaker demand in November with two percent decrease compared to year-ago figures but IATA noted that improvements in euro zone manufacturing and export orders will likely support air freight demand in the coming months for carriers in this region.

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