GENEVA, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets Wednesday, which showed demand rose 2.1 percent in July compared to a year earlier, marking the slowest growth seen since May 2016.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand for freight lose momentum in July 2018. Growth slowed to 0.9 percent. Capacity grew by 3.9 percent.
As the largest freight-flying region, the Asia-Pacific region carries one-third of the total market. But the risks from protectionist measures impacting the region are disproportionately high, said IATA.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO, said that although global demand for air cargo grew at its slowest pace in July since 2016, IATA is still expecting 4 percent growth over the course of the year. July's pace of growth was well below the five-year average growth rate of 5.1 percent.
All regions reported year-on-year demand growth in July, except Africa.
All regions, except Africa and Latin America, reported that capacity growth exceeded growth in demand.
North American airlines' freight volumes expanded 2.6 percent in July 2018 compared to the same period a year earlier. Capacity increased by 4.0 percent.
The recent momentum of the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar has helped strengthen demand for air imports. A sharp pick-up in supply chain bottlenecks, which is typically alleviated by the speed of air freight, may also be benefiting the demand.
European airlines posted a 2.6 percent increase in freight volumes in July. IATA said this is a significant slowdown from the five-year average annual growth rate of 5.6 percent.
Despite this and the weakening of manufacturers' order books, seasonally-adjusted air freight volumes have resumed their upward trend in recent months.
Middle Eastern carriers posted the fastest growth of any region in July with an increase in demand of 5.4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.