The gradual expansion continues a trend that began in the third quarter as airfreight markets have responded to better economic confidence and improved consumer demand.
But performance varies significantly by region. Middle East carriers reported the most impressive growth. European and North American airlines reported growth below the long-term cargo growth trend of five to six percent.
Asia-Pacific carriers grew marginally. The pick-up in Chinese growth and trade volumes across the region indicates that Asia-Pacific, which is the largest airfreight region by market share, is potentially poised for continued expansion.
Europe and the Middle East combined have carried three quarters of the cargo increase over the past six months.
“Since mid-year, we have seen modest but sustained growth in cargo fed by stronger business confidence and improving trade flows,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said. “Air cargo is still a very tough business. Matching capacity to demand has been difficult in an environment where passenger traffic is growing more robustly. There is some evidence that the fall in load factors has stabilized, but yields remain under pressure.”