May continued the 18-month trend for stagnant cargo growth, figures by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show. Global freight tonne kilometres rose just 0.8 per cent in May compared with the year before, showing that passenger travel is growing faster than cargo. On a year-to-date basis, freight tonne kilometres dropped 0.2 per cent in 2013 compared with 2012. However, capacity climbed 2.1 per cent pushing load factors down to 44.9 per cent – “their lowest since the post crisis recovery,” said IATA. “It is getting harder to find optimistic signs for air cargo growth. The Middle East remains a bright spot, and the rate of decline in the Eurozone is easing. But this is offset by the weakening of expansion in Asia-Pacific. It is now clear that the positive global upswing in air cargo at the end of 2012 was an illusion. Air cargo, along with many parts of the world economy, appears to be in suspended animation at the moment,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. Keeping up the trend, North America posted a decline of 1.2 per cent and the Middle East an increase of 9.7 per cent. But cargo volumes in Latin America fell 0.1 per cent and in Africa they rose just 0.2 per cent, both lower than expected. Asia-Pacific’s cargo volumes fell 0.5 per cent during the month. On a year-to-date basis they have dipped 2.5 per cent, due to sluggish growth in China. European carriers broke a 15-month record with a one per cent growth rate in May, the second-best growth of any region. However, it is unlikely this will continue.