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Facts and Figures



2017—A Remarkable Year for Global Air Cargo


Approximately 56 million tonnes of freight were carried in 2017. Growth of scheduled total freight traffic, expressed in terms of scheduled total freight tonne-kilometres performed (FTKs), was at 9.5 per cent in 2017, significantly higher than the 3.6 per cent recorded in 2016. This growth was due mainly to the the improvement of global economic conditions and world trade as well as a resurgence in consumer confidence. 



Air carriers in Asia/Pacific carried nearly 40 per cent of scheduled international FTKs; the figure was 26 per cent for carriers in Europe, 16 per cent for the Middle East, and 14 per cent for those in North America. This indicated that nearly 80 per cent of long-haul freight traffic flowed on the East-West trade lane that connects Asia to Europe, Asia to North America, and Europe to North America.



In 2017, the top ten (10) airports captured 27 per cent of the worldwide freight tonnage and represented 37 per cent of the total mail tonnage.

According to the latest ICAO forecast, it is estimated that global FTKs will grow at 4.1 per cent annually to 2025 and 3.9 per cent to 2035.


The comPicture21.pngmodities shipped by air are those that have high value per unit density. In 2014, air freight constituted 34.6 per cent of world trade by value, and total value of transported goods of USD 6.4 trillion, despite representing only 0.5 per cent by volume/3.




In 2017, air freight accounted for approximately 12 per cent of Colombian international trade by value, while by tonnage it only accounted with less than 5 per cent







In the United Kingdom, air freight accounted for approximately 47 per cent of international trade value. Yet, in terms of weight it only accounted with 0.7 per cent of the total tonnage.




The growth of air freight traffic is driven by gross domestic product (GDP) growth, performance of international trade, and the relationship of air freight demand to trade of goods. Air cargo faces some threats and challenges such as rising interest rates, trade protectionism, and international conflict, along with regulatory restrictions and operational constraints.


Nevertheless, new opportunities are emerging in the global market in the areas of e-commerce and pharmaceuticals. Some 87 per cent of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce parcels are currently carried by air. The e-commerce share of scheduled international mail tonne kilometres (MTKs) grew from 16 per cent to 74 per cent between 2010 and 2015 and is estimated to grow to 91 per cent by 2025.


More information 


- Air Transport Monitor

- Global Air transport Outlook. Circular 333




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