GENEVA: February 01, 2017. IATA reports global airfreight demand rose 3.8 percent last year compared to the previous 12 months. This was nearly double the industry's average growth rate of 2.0 percent over the last five years.
Analysts WorldACD echoed the IATA data saying chargeable weight worldwide increased by 3.1 percent in 2016 while overall weight uplift rose 4.4 percent compared to 2015.
IATA said all regions, with the exception of Latin America, saw growth in 2016 with European carriers accounting for almost half of the total annual increase in demand.
"In terms of demand, 2016 was a good year for air cargo," said IATA director general and CEO said Alexandre de Juniac. Despite noting the "good news" of strong export orders, de Juniac warned of "headwinds" due to stagnant world trade and the risk of rising protectionism.
Echoing recent comments by FedEx chairman Fred Smith, he said governments must not forget that trade is a powerful tool for growth and prosperity.
De Juniac's comments have been followed by another call from Donald Trump to "speed up" the process of renegotiating NAFTA, reasserting his claim the trade agreement has been a "catastrophe" for U.S. jobs while not presenting any evidence.
IATA members in the Asia-Pacific region saw a 2.1 percent growth in freight volumes last year compared to 2015; while demand in North American increased 2.0 percent from 1.3 percent the previous year.
Cargo traffic on European carriers rose 7.6 percent year-on-year and reflected a sustained increase in German exports coupled with a weak Euro.
Middle Eastern carriers' freight volumes increased 6.9 percent in 2016 - the region's slowest pace of growth since 2009 and well below the 12 percent average over the past decade.
Latin American airlines experienced a drop in volumes of 4.2 percent last year due in part to a weak Brazilian economy. IATA said this was the second consecutive year of falling demand. Meanwhile the annual growth rate for African carriers in 2016 was 3.1 percent, down from 4.5 percent in 2015.