Global aviation freight volumes dropped 2% in March year-over-year (YOY), according to IATA. However, on the anticipation of renewed demand, cargo capacity rose 6.9%, “putting increased pressure on already struggling yields,” IATA said.
“It is shaping up to be another tough year for air cargo,” IATA DG & CEO Tony Tyler said.
The global load factor for March fell 43.5%, down 4% on the previous year, with Asia-Pacific carriers seeing a 5.2% drop in demand in March compared to the year-ago month.
The decline in Asia-Pacific volumes made a significant dent in overall figures—Asian and North American carriers account for 60% of global freight traffic overall.
IATA said the decline was exaggerated by the effects of last year’s strong demand, which came as a result of the US West Coast seaport strikes in March 2015. This was exaggerated by weak overall consumer demand, IATA said, with a continuing contraction of emerging Asian economies leading to weak export volumes from across the region.
Although Latin American carriers saw demand decrease 5.9% in March YOY, overall figures for the region are down 15% on late-2014 peak volumes. Likewise, Middle Eastern carriers reported the slowest growth since July 2009 at just 2.4% up on March 2015.
Tyler said there was “little optimism for an early uptick” in cargo business.
“The combination of fierce competition, capacity increases and stagnant demand makes this a very difficult environment in which to generate profits,” he said.