Demand for air cargo rose by 5.2% in February over the same month in 2011, according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
However, Latin American airlines saw the most significant decline, with a 3.6% fall compared with previous-year levels.
Several factors distorted the February result when comparing it with last year’s figure, said IATA. They included weaker traffic during the so-called Arab Spring a year ago, and cargo demand was impacted by the Chinese New Year falling in January, which pushed some deliveries into February.
When comparing the February demand level with the previous month, January 2012, the picture changed, as cargo demand actually fell by 1.2%.
IATA said this showed freight demand continues to be relatively stable – a trend that started to develop in September 2011, and is consistent with improvements in business confidence.
Cargo growth was led by Middle East carriers with an 18.2% increase in demand, which matched an 18.2% increase in capacity. However, the largest volume contributor to February’s growth was the Asia-Pacific region, which posted a 10.2% year-on-year gain.
European and North American carriers saw year-on-year declines in cargo traffic of 1.4% and 0.3% respectively. African carriers posted growth of 3.2%% over the previous year, but on very small volumes.
Total air freight traffic market shares by region, measured in freight tonne km (FTK) are Asia-Pacific 40.2%, Europe 21.7%, North America 23.1%, Middle East 11%, Latin America 2.9%, Africa 1.1%.
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