Global air cargo demand last year was up 3.8 per cent on 2015 – nearly double the average growth rate over the past five years, according to figures from the International Air Transport Association. Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres, increased by 5.3 per cent in 2016.

All regions, with the exception of Latin America, experienced positive freight growth in 2016. Carriers in Europe accounted for almost half of the total annual increase in demand. European airlines reported a 16.4 per cent year-on-year increase in freight demand in December and a capacity rise of 5.9 per cent.

These results helped boost cargo volumes for the 2016 calendar year by 7.6 per cent – the largest increase of all regions, and accounting for almost half of the total global annual increase in freight demand. The seasonally-adjusted growth trend is strong and corresponds with the sustained increase in export orders in Germany and the on-going weakness in the Euro.

Capacity in the region increased by 6.7 per cent in the 2016 calendar year. Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “In terms of demand, 2016 was a good year for air cargo. That was boosted by solid year-end performance.

Looking ahead, strong export orders are good news. But there are headwinds. The most significant is stagnant world trade which also faces the risk of protectionist measures. Governments must not forget that trade is a powerful tool for growth and prosperity. “The air cargo industry must also improve its competitiveness.

We know that the way forward is defined by digital processes which will drive efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. We must use the momentum of renewed demand growth to drive the important innovations of the e-cargo vision.”


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