Impact Publications : Aircargo_241
AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • FEB-MARCH 2016 • Page 21 of the next fastest group (Europe), although slower than the 11.5 per cent gain seen in 2015 as a whole. Growth in freight carried by Middle Eastern airlines continues to be helped by large-scale network and fleet expansion by the region’s carriers. Freight volumes carried by other major players in the industry also increased relative to January 2015, albeit at much more modest rates. FTKs carried by European carriers were 2.2 per cent higher than in January 2015, although this was affected somewhat by the weakness and volatility seen at the start of last year. That upward trend in volumes is modest, and annual growth looks likely to fall back into negative territory soon. Recent falls in business surveys so far this year underline the fragility of economic situation in the region. ASIA PACIFIC AND NorTH AMErICA TrEND UP Annual volume growth for North American and Asia Pacific carri- ers in January was slower still (1.9 and 0.2 per cent respectively). That said, the bigger picture is that these carriers have accounted for the bulk of the recovery in seasonally adjusted industry-wide freight volumes seen since the middle of last year. The resumption of the upward trend in international FTKs in Asia comes in spite of a weak backdrop of total trade to and from the region. According to the Netherlands CPB, emerging Asian trade contracted in month-on-month terms throughout the second half of 2015. Moreover, notwithstanding the spike at the time of the seaport disruption in early 2015, US trade data show that eastbound air freight on the Pacific route declined throughout the rest of the year too. North American freight volumes have risen particularly strongly in seasonally adjusted terms over the past few months. Judging from US trade data, this appears to relate to a sharp rise in air imports from Europe, largely of electrical machinery goods, towards the end of the year, as opposed to outbound exports, which are strug- gling with the strong dollar. LoAD FACTorS LoWEr International freight load factors in January 2016 were lower than they were in the same month in 2015 in all six regions. The rise in North American freight volumes in seasonally adjust- ed terms over recent months came along with steady growth in freight capacity. As a result, while the North American international load factor is still some way below the industry figure, it is the only notable case to have improved markedly in recent months.