May 03, 2018: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that African FTKs (freight tonne kilometres) fell by 3.4 percent in the month of March.

All regions except Latin America, reported year-on-year declines in growth in March, with Africa in negative territory.

“This result may, however, be influenced by the comparison with unusually strong growth in March 2017. Indeed, Africa has reported the fastest growth of all regions for 17 of the last 18 months, so it would be premature to suggest this is the start of a negative trend,” stated industry body IATA.

Global air freight demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), rose 1.7 percent in March 2018, compared to the same period the year before. This was five percentage points lower than the February result.

The industry body mentioned that this was the slowest pace of growth in 22 months.

The year-on-year increase in capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTK) fell to 4.4 percent compared to 6.3 percent in February. This was the first time in 20 months, however, that annual capacity rose faster than demand.

The reason cited for the slowdown in growth is the end of the destocking cycle, during which businesses rapidly increased their inventory to meet unexpectedly high demand. A softening of global trade is also evident.

"It’s normal that growth slows at the end of a restocking cycle. That clearly has happened. Looking ahead we remain optimistic that air cargo demand will grow by 4-5 percent this year. But there are obviously some headwinds. Oil prices have risen strongly, and economic growth is patchy. The biggest damage could be political. The implementation of protectionist measures would be an own-goal for all involved—especially the US and China," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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