- Air freight volume fell 4.5% year-over-year (YoY) in September — the eleventh straight month in which volume either fell or remained flat, according to the most recent numbers from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
- The air freight sector continues to add capacity, growing by 2% YoY. This is down from 3.2% growth in August as some airlines cut capacity to better align with demand, IATA suggested.
- "The US-China trade war continues to take its toll on the air cargo industry," IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. "October's pause on tariff hikes between Washington and Beijing is good news. But trillions of dollars of trade is already affected, which helped fuel September's 4.5% year-on-year fall in demand."
The Asia Pacific region, the largest for freight volume, saw its volume down 5.9% YoY in September. Not only is the region affected by the U.S.-China dispute, but trade restrictions between Japan and South Korea have also affected demand, IATA noted.
Multiple air cargo operations have similarly cited declining volume numbers in recent weeks. North American airlines were down 4.4% YoY. Delta and American Airlines saw cargo revenues decline by 17% and 20%, respectively, according to third-quarter earnings calls last month.
FedEx responded to this environment earlier this year by cutting its Express capacity, saying it expects the weak demand to continue into 2020. IATA expects YoY growth will turn positive again at the beginning of next year.
But UPS has had a slightly different story to tell. The logistics company reported a 24% growth in next-day air volume in its Q3 earnings released last month.
"Due to e-commerce structural changes, air volume continues to grow at near-historic levels," UPS COO Jim Barber said on the company's earnings call last month. "And we expect demand to be strong during peak as Next Day delivery increasingly becomes the new standard for B2C and B2B e-commerce."