A new report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that airlines make less profit from transporting cargo than trucking companies, and just enough to cover their debts, according to the Shipping Gazette.
The only real winners in the air cargo industry, according to the Profitability and the Air Transport Value Chain report, are freight forwarders who make on average a 15 per cent return on their investment.
Global freight tonne kilometres increased just 0.8 per cent in May compared to a year ago. Capacity, however, increased by 2.1 per cent causing load factors to fall to 44.9 per cent - their lowest level since the post crisis recovery.
As 60 per cent of global air cargo utilises capacity in the belly of passenger aircraft, managing capacity at a time when growth in air travel is outpacing that of cargo is particularly challenging, according to Dubai's ArabianSupplyChain.com
"It is getting harder to find optimistic signs for air cargo growth. The Middle East remains a bright spot, and the rate of decline in the Eurozone is easing. But this is offset by the weakening of expansion in Asia-Pacific. It is now clear that the positive global upswing in air cargo at the end of 2012 was an illusion. Air cargo, along with many parts of the world economy, appears to be in suspended animation at the moment," said IATA director general Tony Tyler, former CEO of Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways.