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            april 24, 2018

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Air cargo soars to five-year high but turbulence awaits industry in 2017


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the air cargo industry faces threats of stagnant world trade and protectionism despite last year's market growth which reached a record high.
Traffic, measured in freight tonne kilometres, rose by 3.8 per cent last year, nearly double the average growth rate of 2 per cent over the past five years, but trailed the 5.3 per cent increase in freight capacity, according to IATA.
All regions, except Latin America, posted positive figures, with European carriers accounting for almost half of the total increase in freight shipments, IHS Media reported.
Volumes took off in the second half of last year, driven by a strong peak season, rising shipments of silicon materials, and a rebound in new export orders. The early timing of the Chinese New Year in January this year also likely pushed up demand in December.
"In terms of demand, 2016 was a good year for air cargo. That was boosted by solid year-end performance. Looking ahead, strong export orders are good news," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO.
"But there are headwinds. The most significant is stagnant world trade, which also faces the risk of protectionist measures. Governments must not forget that trade is a powerful tool for growth and prosperity."
European airlines boosted 2016 traffic by 7.6 per cent in 2016, helped by a 16.4 per cent year-over-year surge in December.
Asia-Pacific carriers posted a 2.1 per cent increase in 2016 traffic, down from a 2.3 per cent rise in 2015, while North American airlines' freight volume grew 2 per cent last year, up from 1.3 per cent in 2015.
Middle East carriers posted an annual increase of 6.9 per cent, the second-largest regional growth, boosted by an 11.2 per cent jump in December shipments.
Latin American airlines' freight shipments contracted by 4.2 per cent, the second consecutive yearly decline, as the region remains blighted by weak economic and political conditions, particularly in Brazil, its largest economy.

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