Two weeks ago, when we reported the strong air freight data posted by several of the big cargo carriers and airports in November, we predicted that WorldACD and IATA would show worldwide year-over-year air freight demand growth close to double digits for the month.
We will have to wait for IATA, but WorldACD published its report yesterday, and not only did it show strong demand growth – traffic (in direct tonne kilometers) up 8.9% y-o-y and volume (in chargeable weight) up 7.8% – but yield (in USD) was up a staggering 17.3%!
In some respects, November seems a long time ago. The big news lately has been the continuation of peak season right through Christmas, and the expectation that demand (and rates) may stay strong through January, and not fall off until the Chinese New Year holiday in mid-February. But that does not make November any the less remarkable. In fact, it currently stands as the best month ever for the air freight industry.
According to WorldACD, total air freight volume in November was the highest ever for a single month – breaking the record set the previous month. As to yield, WorldACD said the 17.3% y-o-y yield increase was the highest since the recovery after the 2009 crisis, and airline cargo revenues were more than 26% higher than in November 2016.
You can read the full WorldACD report here, but a couple of details are worth pointing out.
- The biggest volume gains were reported on the Middle East & South Asia (MESA)-to-Europe and MESA-to-Africa lanes, where volume was up 21.1%.
- The Asia Pacific-to-North America and Europe-to-MESA lanes also did well, with volume up 11.5% and 11.3%, respectively.
- The biggest yield gains were on routes from Europe. Measured in EUR, yield on the Europe-to-North America lane was up 28%, and up 25% on the Europe-to-Central & South America lane. Measured in USD, the gains were even higher – up 40% and 36%, respectively.
Returning to the present, the first report of air freight demand in December comes from Pactl, the biggest handler at Shanghai Pudong International, which reported its handle for the month up 9.5% y-o-y to 173,000 tonnes – a slight drop from the 10.9% gain in November, but nonetheless an indication of continuing strong demand. For the full year, Pactl’s handle was up 12.2% to a record 1.87 million tonnes.