Air cargo has had its best peak season in years with a significant acceleration of volume growth and yield improvement since the summer, according to the latest industry data.

David Harris of Cargofacts, explains that WorldACD considers DTKs to be a “more accurate reflection of demand because it eliminates the inflationary effect on FTKs of routes with intermediate stops. That is, demand for iPhones in Europe is the same whether those phones fly from China to Europe directly, or with a stop in Dubai, but the route via Dubai is over 3,000 kilometers longer, and using DTKs instead of FTKs more accurately reflects this.”

Air cargo has not seen such seasonal yield improvements since 2009, the analyst said. Volume increases since the summer were spectacular in markets from Hong Kong (up 30 percent year-over-year) and Shanghai (up 17 percent), also higher than in previous years. Improvements in the global cargo yield to the US$ yield grew in November by 3.9 percent over the previous month, and by 8.7 percent compared with August.

Andrew Herdman, AAPA director general, said the region’s carriers had a modest but progressive recovery in international air cargo demand this year, with volume growth of 1.2 percent for the first 11 months of 2016.

“Air cargo markets picked up modestly during the course of the year, but rates remain highly competitive, reflecting soft global trade conditions,” he said. “The general outlook for the global economy in 2017, including further growth in demand for air travel, remains reasonably positive, but airlines will need to be vigilant over costs, given fluctuations in oil prices as well as exchange rate volatility.”