RISING confidence in non-European economies has brought an end to the cargo slump, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
However, international freight volumes are expected to change very little this year at 47.8 million metric tonnes, the trade body adds.
Although IATA reveals Asia-Pacific airlines – which made a US$4.9bn profit last year – benefited little from a pick-up in cargo shipments, it has reduced its forecast for the region’s earnings from $2.3bn to $2bn.
John Slosar, Cathay Pacific's chief executive officer, says: "Nothing has changed against trend. The trend has been weak for more than a year and hasn't accelerated or got worse recently.
"Cargo is a huge barometer for the world economy and world trade, and we can reasonably expect that if the world economy is weak, cargo is going to follow.
"When we start to see cargo pick up, it will start to tell us the world is finding a way forward out of its economic problems."
Meanwhile, IATA warns carriers in Europe could lose $1.1bn this year, compared with a March forecast for a $600m loss.
“If there’s a full-blown crisis, all bets are off,” states Tony Tyler, the trade body's director general. “It will have a big impact on the world economy and a huge impact on airlines.”