China and Hong Kong drive air freight growth

Air freight load factors continued to climb through November, offering hope to a sector desperate for a 2020 rebound.

According to the latest analysis from WorldACD, load factors have climbed steadily since August, improving by 2% to 2.5 % in each of the months of September, October and November.

The most striking feature in the November results was the ongoing growth in China and Hong Kong. The two locations taken together for the months of October and November increased their outgoing volumes by 4.6% compared with the year 2017 and by 5.1% compared with 2018.

“Main engines behind this growth are the destinations Europe and the Middle East and South Asia (MESA), but exports to North America decreased,” said the analyst.

High-tech was the fastest growing export product category in China and Hong Kong. “The origin Asia- Pacific as a whole, whilst more than 5% down for the year 2019, did not show a year-over-year decrease in November,” noted the analyst.

“All other origin regions except one, also showed a better year-over-year performance in November than in the 10 months before. That one exception was Europe; -5.1% year-over-year for the year up till now, but -5.5% for November.”

Worldwide chargeable weight was down by 6.9% year-over-year in August, by 5.3% in September, by 4.7% in October, but by only 2.5% in November.

“Does this mean we are going to end the year on a – relatively – high note?” asked WorldACD.

“If the trend continues, the month of December may be the first month in 2019 showing no year-over-year decline. But even if December year-over-year would turn out to be ‘neutral,’ the worldwide volume for the full year 2019 will be -4.3% compared to 2018. Taking out the ‘bumper year’ 2018, the change from 2017 to 2019 will be -2.2%.”