Global air freight volume declined in 2019 for the first time since 2012 while passenger traffic increased 4.2 percent over 2018 levels, according to data released this week by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said Thursday that global passenger traffic increased more slowly in 2019 than the previous year, below the trend of 5.5 percent annual growth.
“Airlines did well to maintain steady growth last year in the face of a number of challenges,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “A softer economic backdrop, weak global trade activity, and political and geopolitical tensions took their toll on demand.”
Demand for air freight, however, fell 3.3 percent in 2019 from 2018 levels in the first decline since 2012 and the weakest performance since 2009, IATA said Wednesday, adding that capacity increased 2.1 percent in 2019. IATA attributed the downturn to weak growth in global trade.
“Trade tensions are at the root of the worst year for air cargo since the end of the global financial crisis in 2009,” de Juniac said. “While these are easing, there is little relief in that good news, as we are in unknown territory with respect to the eventual impact of the coronavirus on the global economy. With all the restrictions being put in place, it will certainly be a drag on economic growth. And for sure, 2020 will be another challenging year for the air cargo business.”