THE NETHERLANDS: December 31, 2015. Going by the bare worldwide monthly figures, November 2015 was not a good month for air cargo. For the first time in 2.5 years, monthly volume dropped 0.9 percent Year-on-Year (YoY).
Although US$ yields improved for the third month in a row, the 1.0 percent increase was smaller than the usual yield improvement from October to November. However, the Month-over-Month yield increase was in line with 2014 when taking into account the major exchange rate effects.
Even when viewing the last three months together (November had five Sundays and Mondays, traditionally not the best cargo days), there is no escaping the facts: September-November showed a YoY volume growth of 1.0 percent only, well below the YoY increase of 2.6 percent until August, and November was weaker than October for the first time since 2011.
Is it all bad news then towards the year's end? The answer is no, thanks to China and Hong Kong.
Together, these usual growth engines account for almost 30 percent of worldwide revenues. Their exports by air to Europe had been below previous year's volumes for a good part of 2015, but over the past months this negative pattern was reversed. The destination North America had already performed well since the beginning of 2015 and continued that trend towards the year's end. And the yield developments (in US$) were even more encouraging.
Contrary to recent figures from other sources, we observe rather positive yield patterns for the origin Asia Pacific: between August and November, yields rose by 17 percent to Europe, and by 10 percent to North America.
However, intra-Asia Pacific air cargo suffered. YoY volumes were down 4.0 in November and by 1.3 percent for the last three months. And coupled with that the average US$-yield in the area fell 4.0 percent since August 2015.
How did other areas fare since August? Volumes from Africa, Europe and the Middle East & South Asia (MESA) grew more than average (by 4.0, 4.0 and 2.0 percent respectively), while volumes from the Americas contracted compared to 2014. But in Central & South America, compensation was found in 13 percent yield growth between August and November.
Perishables and pharmaceuticals also remain positive over the past three months with YoY volume growth of 5.0 percent and 10.5 percent respectively. However while perishables have shared in the small yield upswing since last August, pharmaceuticals have not: their rapid growth is accompanied by a US$-yield fall of 5.0 percent since September although when measured in €uro, the main currency for pharma, the picture is much more positive.
North America carrier volume contracted 3.0 percent YoY over the past three months while airlines from Asia Pacific and Europe hardly grew. Carrier groups from Africa and MESA saw growth of 2.0 percent and 7.0 percent respectively.