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GENEVA: January 29, 2018. IATA reports a 9.0 percent year-on-year increase in freight tonne-kilometers (FTKs) in 2017, noting it was the strongest calendar year of growth since 2010 driven by the restocking cycle and buoyant demand for manufactured exports.

The association is forecasting a 4.5 percent rise in FTKs this year.

LUX AIRPORT 2017African airlines topped the international growth chart in 2017 as year-on-year FTK growth rose 25.2 percent, up from 3.7 percent in 2016. Freight volumes were helped by a strong upward trend in traffic between Africa and Asia following an increase in the number of direct services between the two continents based on ongoing foreign investment flows into Africa from Asia.

Airlines in Latin America reported 2017 growth of 5.8 percent, helped by the economic turnaround in Brazil, while European airlines posted the second fastest year-on-year growth rate of all regions – up from 7.2 percent in 2016 to an increase of 11.6 percent last year.

"This is consistent with rising export demand for manufacturing goods made in the region; in fact, manufacturing firms in the eurozone are currently reporting that their export order books are growing at their fastest pace on record," commented IATA economist David Oxley.

Asia Pacific airlines produced an 8.7 percent rise in FTKs following a modest increase of 1.5 percent in 2016, while carriers in North America generated 7.9 percent more international FTKs in 2017 than they did the previous year.

Noting the comparative strength of the U.S. economy and dollar over recent years has helped to support inbound air freight volumes, Oxley added that they might be further boosted by the 2017 U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that is encouraging a repatriation of profits held abroad by U.S. companies.

When surveyed in early January this year, 56 percent of IATA airline CFOs and heads of Cargo said they expect air cargo profit levels to improve further over the coming 12 months. Some 48 percent of respondents think yields will remain unchanged over the year ahead, while 32 percent are forecasting a yield increase.

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