Annual growth in air freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) slowed to 2.8% in the three months ended July – its slowest pace on this basis in more than two years. While FTKs are continuing to increase in seasonally adjusted (SA) terms, the upward trend has slowed markedly from that seen during the best of the upturn in air freight last year.
This largely reflects the fact that the inventory restocking cycle, which helped air freight growth to outperform that of wider global trade in 2016/17, has now run its course. More generally, against a backdrop of rising trade protectionism measures, wider momentum in world trade also looks to be weakening.
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Cargo yields have continued to trend upwards in H2 2018, albeit at a slower pace than a year ago. While the industry-wide load factor is trending down, ongoing high rates of freighter aircraft utilization will continue to help to reduce average costs, and to help offset ongoing upward pressure on costs, particularly from higher fuel prices.
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