2April continues the positive trend ...

Last month, we spoke about a solid first quarter for worldwide air cargo. The industry will be pleased to see this trend continue. April 2014 showed a volume growth of 6.3% year-over-year (YoY), a little below the growth for Q1 (+6.8%). Yield in USD was only 0.2% lower than in March, and 1.5% lower YoY. Revenues in April stood firm: whereas they had grown YoY by 4% (in USD) in Q1, in April they grew by almost 5%.

North America clearly stood out in April. Outgoing volumes grew by 10% YoY, thanks to strong business to Europe and Asia Pacific; incoming by 9%. Asia Pacific continued its recovery through volume growth of 9% YoY, mostly through export growth to Europe and North America; it also showed a yield increase over March. However, business within the Asia Pacific area hardly improved. Europe showed the least growth in outgoing (2% only), but the most in incoming cargo (+9%), the latter accompanied by yield growth compared to March. Africa was the other region showing an improvement in yields for incoming business.

Expectations for the full year being upbeat, one wonders where business will increase most. Some say that the newer air cargo markets are in decline after spectacular growth earlier on. Do the actual figures corroborate such views? Since recent past performance may well be an indicator for future developments, WorldACD arbitrarily drew a circle of 500 km around a number of top origin cities, and compared 2013 with 2012 for each of these catchment areas (“C.A.”), taking outgoing and incoming air cargo together.

In Europe, the catchment areas (“C.A.”) around Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt overlap to a fairly large extent. Not surprisingly, they show a similar growth of around 3%. The C.A.-Milano shows +5% and the C.A.-Istanbul +10% (and even +20% compared to 2010). Note that the C.A.’s around the top European cities are the world’s largest C.A.’s in volume.

In the United States, the C.A.’s Chicago and New York contracted for the past three years. The C.A.’s Miami, Los Angeles and Atlanta hovered around 1% to 2% growth. The picture was starkly different in the Middle East and South Asia, where the top C.A.’s around Dubai, Delhi and Dhaka grew by 6%, 6% and 17% respectively YoY. Nairobi and Quito showed opposing results, the former hardly growing in 2013, the latter - although still relatively small - leading the growth tables for Latin America with +14% compared to 2012.

In the largest air cargo market, Asia Pacific, Seoul and the Pearl River Delta grew by 9% and 2% respectively (the city Guangzhou grew by 19%). Other big Asian air cargo centers stayed below the worldwide growth of 1.9%. Looking at the largest C.A. for each of the six regions worldwide, business to and from these 6 C.A.’s together accounts for 67% of worldwide volumes in 2013. This is lower than in 2011 (68%), indicating growth of the newer air cargo markets.

In conclusion: the big centers in Europe and MESA did better than average in 2013. Most of them look set for doing the same in 2014. The main centers in the USA do much better in 2014. The same goes for the Pearl River Delta, whilst Tokyo/Osaka is rebounding from the slump ex Japan. Nairobi also moves again. Lastly, a number of the newer cargo centers continue to climb the ladder: think of Oslo, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Quito and Karachi.