Airports saw airfreight volumes increase by 0.5% during the first half of the year as demand was affected by subdued growth in emerging markets and developing economies and a modest recovery in advanced economies. Figures from Airports Council International (ACI) show the 0.5% growth rate in global freight volumes comprised a 0.3% increase in international freight and 1% in domestic freight on an annualised basis. “The lacklustre performance of global industrial activity and trade due to China’s economic transition, the weak growth of the Japanese economy and the weaker than expected growth of the US, combined with recessions in Brazil and Russia, have all had a negative impact on air freight markets,” ACI said.
Three regions saw cargo demand at airports decline during the first half: North America, Latin America-Caribbean and Africa reported freight traffic losses of 2.1%, 0.9% and 0.1% respectively. Asia-Pacific and Europe reported freight traffic growth of 1.0% and 2.3% respectively, while the Middle East grew by 4.5% over the course of the first six months in 2016. ACI said that cargo demand in Africa varied from country to country with airfreight traffic in South Africa increasing by 2.2%, while Egypt recorded a 7.4% decline, Kenya saw a 6.9% slip and in Nigeria demand was down 1.7%. In the Asia Pacific region, total airfreight traffic picked up at 5.9% in June 2016, surpassing the year-to-date figure of 1%.
China, accounting for over a third of air freight traffic in the region, grew 3.9% in total freight. In Japan — the second largest airfreight market in the region — airfreight at major commercial airports dropped 2.7% during the first half of 2016. Hong Kong saw a 0.8% fall in international freight, while India posted a robust 9.6% increase. Korea posted 0.4% increase in total airfreight while Malaysia and Indonesia saw traffic declines of 18.5% and 8.8% respectively on a year-to-date basis.
At the individual airport level, the highest growth in airfreight was observed at Guangzhou (6%) Singapore (4.4%) and Delhi (10.6%). At the same time, significant falls were seen at Kuala Lumpur, down 18.5%, and Tokyo-Narita, which saw demand slide by 3.6%. In Europe, total airfreight traffic grew 1.7% in June 2016, which was slightly below the year-to-date figure of 2.3%. The three largest airfreight markets in the region were Germany, the UK and France. They reported growth of 1.9%, 3.6% and 3.6% respectively during the first six months of 2016. Turkey reported sharp 12.4% decline rate in airfreight traffic at its major commercial airports. At the individual airport level, the highest increases in airfreight were recorded at Paris-Charles de Gaulle (4.2%), Leipzig (6.7%) and London-Heathrow (2.2%). Losses were recorded at Istanbul-Atatürk (-13.1%) and Brussels (-6.8%). Total airfreight traffic in Latin America-Caribbean fell 3.2% in June 2016 and 0.9% on a year-to-date basis. While airfreight traffic in Brazil was down 9.4% year-to-date, Colombia and Mexico recorded 0.3% and 5.8% increases respectively.
Out of 22 countries in Latin America-Caribbean reporting airfreight figures to ACI, 10 countries posted traffic losses, evidence of “the fragile state of the airfreight industry in the region”. The Middle East recorded the highest increase in airfreight compared with other regions, at 4.5%. At the country level, Qatar was the largest contributor to airfreight growth in the region with Doha reporting a 20.3% growth rate for the first half of the year. Total airfreight volumes in North America increased by 2.1% in June, but were down 2.1% during the first half of the year.
At the individual airport level, the highest increases in airfreight volumes were recorded at Memphis (2.1%), Louisville (3.5%) and Ontario (12%). During the same period, significant airfreight losses were recorded at a number of airports, including Anchorage (-10.2%), Chicago-O’Hare (13.9%) and Houston-George Bush (-20.3%).