May 2019: Still no change in 2019 trend …

June 30, 2019

May 2019 at a glance:
Total Chargeable Weight: -5.0% year-over-year (YoY); +3.9% month-over-month (MoM).
General cargo -7.2% YoY, Special cargo -0.1% YoY.
Direct Ton Kilometers (DTK’s): - 4.6% YoY.
Yield decreased to USD 1.78 (-5.6% YoY, -2.0% MoM).  The yield in EUR stood at 1.59.
The cargo load factor dropped by 2.1 percentage-points YoY, but rose by 0.3 MoM.
High-Tech & Other Vulnerable Goods (the largest category special cargo) increased by 5.3% YoY, whilst the second largest category (Pharma & Temperature Controlled Goods) rose by 9.9% YoY.

(See for more yield developments)

No change to report from the air cargo front. The negative trend continued in the month of May. Writing this message at the half-way point for the year 2019, it is difficult to believe that the year will recover from its dismal start. In the month of May, total chargeable weight again decreased YoY, this time by 5%, whilst yields (in USD) fell by 5.6%, resulting in revenue loss for the airlines of more than 10% YoY. Not a single region escaped the trend: the origins Africa and Europe suffered least, with YoY volume drops of 2.2% and 2.4% respectively, but the origins Asia Pacific and North America chalked up YoY losses of -7.0 % and -7.2 % respectively. Latin America and the Middle East & South Asia (MESA) could not buck the trend either (-4% and -3.4%).

Although the YoY performance in May was slightly better than in April, the May volume decrease was still larger than the decrease for the first four months taken together… In other words: still no recovery in sight. For the period January-May 2019, only the region Africa showed positive growth, albeit very small (+0.4%), largely driven by a 2.3% increase in business from East Africa. Among the other sub-regions, Central Asia (+12.6%), Northern Europe (+10.9%), Levant & Caucasus (+3.6%) and Australasia (+2.5%) distinguished themselves.

While air cargo from the USA to China fell sharply in April (-14.7% YoY, much more than the overall decrease ex-USA), in May it fell ‘only’ by 6.2% YoY (less than the overall decrease ex-USA). From China to the USA, the situation was quite different: -/- 3.5% in April and -/- 3% in May, i.e. much smaller percentages than in the other direction, but both being larger than the general decrease in air cargo exports from China.

To end on a slightly more optimistic note, let’s join the people who find that a comparison with 2017 is more ‘realistic’ than a comparison with 2018, given last year’s ‘extreme’ growth figures.
Compared with Jan-May 2017, the year 2019 so far shows worldwide growth of +1%. Moreover, 22 of the 40 largest air cargo countries in the world show positive growth for the same period. The growth percentages between 2017 and 2019 range from 32.6% for Chile to 0.1% for India. This group of growth countries consists of 4 countries from South America (Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia), 9 countries from Asia & Pacific (Vietnam, Pakistan, Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, India), 5 European countries (Norway, Turkey, UK, Switzerland, Luxemburg), the 3 North American countries Canada, Mexico, USA, and one African country (South Africa). Ten of these countries also had growth from 2018 to 2019, of which three scored double digit: Norway, Pakistan and Vietnam.