Cargo Traffic Impacted by Global Economic Situation in 2015

Cargo Traffic

In 2015, the airfreight market was dominated by the weakness of global trade

After the positive figures posted in recent years, the airfreight market in 2015 was dominated by the weakness of global trade and the slowdown in the emerging economies.

Like most of the major cargo hubs around the world, we felt the effects of this development. Cargo volumes (airfreight + airmail) declined by 2.3% to 2.1 million metric tons. While airfreight saw a disproportionate decrease, declining by 2.5%, airmail rose 3.1%, buoyed by e-commerce.

The Far East, which represents the largest traffic region at FRA, saw an especially sharp drop (down 5.9%). Declining by 9.3%, Latin America was also hard hit, albeit at a significantly lower overall level. The weak demand for industrial goods in Brazil weighed especially heavily on the import business, which shrank considerably by almost 14%. North America volumes were down 1.1%.

The Middle East grew at a rate of 1.5%. This increase, which is nonetheless smaller than those seen in previous years, is due to double-digit growth in traffic flows to and from Qatar. Africa traffic also grew, rising by 2.9%, with imports from Egypt being the main driver. The positive development on the European market (3.6%) was driven by an increase in cargo volumes shipped to/from the hubs in Moscow and Istanbul.

On the whole, cargo capacity expanded by a slight margin in 2015. Available cargo space increased in European traffic, in particular, as well as on the high-volume routes to/from North America and northeast Asia. Capacity utilization decreased, however, as a result of the downward trend in demand. While the volume of cargo carried on passenger aircraft declined by 5.1%, it slowed by only 1.3% for cargo aircraft. The percentage of freight transported in freighter aircraft rose by one percentage point as a result, to 62.3%.

We hope the global economy will gradually recover in 2016, bringing stable development in the airfreight industry as well. At least, global trade and exports from Western Europe to China showed initial signs of slight improvement toward the end of the year.