Sydney — An explosion of e-commerce demand is buoying the air freight business, boosting profit at some major airlines despite global trade tension and underscoring robust consumer confidence. Air freight demand is expected to rise 4% in 2018, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said at its annual meeting this week in Sydney. Top beneficiaries will be freight-heavy carriers like Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways, Dubai’s Emirates, Germany’s Lufthansa and Korean Air Lines. The growth in e-commerce is also a boon for parcel firms such as UPS and FedEx as well as second-hand jet traders and an army of pilots known as "freight dogs". "The cargo environment is very strong," Carsten Spohr, CEO of Germany’s Lufthansa, the world’s seventh-largest cargo airline, said on the sidelines of the Iata talks. He added that planes were full on both the outbound and return legs of their trips thanks to the export-driven German economy on one end and goods sold online on the other. "In...

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