GLOBAL air-freight demand decreased by 4.8% in June, compared with the same month last year, measured in freight-tonne-kilometres.

The data released by the International Air Transport Association indicates that this marks the eighth consecutive month of year-on-year decline in freight volumes.

Data in recent months had shown a glimmer of a recovery, but June’s numbers show hope for increased demand was unfounded.

June’s decrease in demand was broad-based, with all regions except Africa showing a decline.

A statement from IATA said capacity growth remains subdued and the cargo load factor continues to fall. IATA pointed out that general trade growth is languishing, with uncertainty compounded by trade tensions between China and the US.

“Global trade continues to suffer as trade tensions – particularly between the US and China – deepen. As a result, air cargo markets continue to contract,” IATA CEO and director general Alexandre de Juniac said.

“Nobody wins a trade war. Borders that are open to trade spread sustained prosperity. That’s what our political leaders must focus on.”

Airlines in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East suffered the sharpest declines in year-on-year growth in total air freight volumes in June 2019. Africa was the only region to show any growth.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for air freight contract by 5.4% in June 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

While an important factor, IATA said the US-China trade war is not solely responsible for the fall. FTKs for the within-Asia market have decreased more than 10% over the past year. Air freight capacity increased by 1.8% over the same period.


North American airlines’ freight demand decreased by 4.6% in June 2019, compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 1.9% over the past year.

European airlines posted a 3.6% decrease in freight demand in June 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier.

Middle Eastern airlines’ freight volumes decreased 7.0% in June 2019 compared to the year-ago period.

Latin American airlines experienced a decrease in freight demand in June 2019 of 1.0% compared to the same period last year. African carriers were the only ones to report growth in June 2019, with an increase in demand of 3.8% compared to the same period a year earlier. This makes Africa the strongest performer for the fourth consecutive month. Capacity grew 16.6%. IATA said the Africa-Asia performance is strong – up 12% year-on-year.