Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO

Air cargo sector ends 2014 on an upward trend

Data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has identified a 4.5% growth in air cargo demand during 2014, measured by freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), when compared to the previous year.  The level of increase significantly accelerated from the 1.4% recorded in 2013 over 2012.

The IATA data also shows that market expansion gathered momentum as 2014 progressed.  The year finished on a positive note, with growth in December accelerating to 4.9%, compared to December 2013.  With the exception of Latin America, all regions reported a strengthening of demand in December.

However, performance varied widely, with the majority of the growth during 2014 in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, which respectively contributed 46% and 29% of the expansion in FTKs.  While growth was also recorded in all other regions it was particularly weak in Latin America.

"After several years of stagnation, the air cargo business is growing again.  This is largely being driven by the uptick in world trade over the second half of 2014,” reported Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Recent concerns over the health of the global economy and a corresponding fall in business confidence have not yet impacted air cargo.  But it is a downside risk that will need to be watched carefully as we move through 2015."

“Despite the improving growth trend, big challenges remain.  Yields declined for the third straight year in 2014, with no immediate prospect of improvement.  Cargo revenues remained basically unchanged at $62 billion, some $5 billion below their 2011 peak.

“To move forward, the industry is focusing on providing a stronger value proposition to meet evolving customer needs.  That’s what is driving efforts such as cutting shipping times, ensuring high-quality handling of temperature-sensitive goods, or benchmarking quality to improve customer transparency.  It’s all about delivering value as a supply chain with a strong vision of the future."