- Air cargo volume dropped 4.8% in June, marking the eighth straight month volume either declined or remained essentially flat year-over-year, according to data released this month by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
- Air volume for the first half of the year was down 3.6% compared to the same period a year ago, IATA said.
- "Global trade continues to suffer as trade tensions — particularly between the US and China — deepen," IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. "As a result, air cargo markets continue to contract."
IATA previously forecasted an average annual growth rate of zero in 2019, which the group now says "looks optimistic" as negative numbers take hold in the industry and signs of a deal between China and the U.S. remain elusive. "The risk of further deterioration in global trade remains a key risk to the outlook for air cargo," the report notes.
U.S. goods exported to China were down 18% for the first half of the year and imports from China were down more than 12%, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis numbers cited by IATA.
The Memphis International Airport, one of the largest cargo hubs in the United States, saw year-over-year declines in cargo enplanements and deplanements for both domestic and international flights in June.
Memphis International June air cargo volume
|June 2019 (lbs)||June 2018 (lbs)||% change|
SOURCE: Memphis International Airport
Other freight indicators are also declining. The Cass Freight Index released its July numbers last week showing negative volume growth for the eighth straight month.
"Tariffs have throttled export volumes in many areas of the U.S. economy, most notably agriculture exports and other select raw materials," the latest Cass report reads.
Airfreight volumes in Asia show signs that the region is either nearing or already in a recession, according to Cass.
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines Director General Andrew Herdman said in a statement, "Asian airlines recorded a 6.2% decline in air cargo demand, reflecting prevailing weakness in international trade flows across regions, as widening trade disputes and higher tariffs continued to disrupt global supply chains."