World air freight demand was 1.2 per cent higher in June than a year earlier, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, according to the Shipping Gazette.
"It's too early to tell if June was a positive turning point after 18 months of stagnation," said IATA director general Tony Tyler, former CEO of Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airlines.
"Air freight volumes are at their highest since mid-2011, but that good news needs to be tempered with a dose of reality. The global economic environment remains weak, and the basis for the acceleration of air cargo growth in June appears to be fragile."
Asia-Pacific demand continued to be weak with volumes contracting 1.8 per cent compared to June 2012 and by 2.3 per cent over the first six months of the year.
"This is the weakest performance among the regions and reflects the broad impact of the slowing Chinese economic expansion," said the IATA statement.
European carriers increased freight volumes 2.6 per cent compared to June 2012. Although the Eurozone remains in recession, there are some signs of stability, said IATA.
North American airlines reported a 1.2 per cent contraction year on year for June and a 1.6 per cent fall over the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012."
The US economy looks to have slowed in the second quarter. Business activity continues to expand, but at a slower pace than in previous months," said IATA.
Middle Eastern airlines saw a continued robust expansion of demand with freight volumes growing by 12.7 per cent year on year. The region's carriers, said IATA, were taking advantage of their geographical position.
Latin American airlines experienced a seven per cent growth in cargo volumes compared to June 2012. This is almost double the year to date trend of 3.7 per cent growth. Latin American exports have been growing faster than any other region in recent months, underpinning this stronger performance.
African airlines posted slower growth in June, up 2.4 per cent in June 2012. This lags the year to date trend of 4.3 per cent, which is the second best of all regions.