Air cargo growth marches on

THE natural disaster in Japan and unrest in the Middle East may have hindered passenger traffic in March, but airfreight continues its gradual growth.

Airfreight traffic rose 3.7 per cent in March, rebounding from 1.8 per cent expansion in February, IATA said.

Asia-Pacific carriers, which account for 43 per cent of global freight markets, saw airfreight demand contract by 0.6 per cent in March compared with the previous year. This is better than the 5.4 per cent fall in February due to plant closures associated with the Chinese New Year. Compared with February, freight demand improved by 8.2 per cent.

In contrast to the previous March, cargo traffic carried by European and North American carriers was up 6.1 per cent and 7.1 per cent respectively. Compared with February, European carriers carried 1.8 per cent more cargo, while demand for North American carriers was 0.2 per cent.

Middle Eastern and Latin American carriers reported year-on-year freight demand increases in March of 10.1 per cent and 10.4 per cent respectively. African carriers reported the worst performance for March 2011 with a 2.8 per cent slide in demand compared with March 2010.

From the second half of 2010 until January 2011, international airfreight expanded in tandem with the growth in world trade at an annualised rate of about 10 per cent.

While unrest continues in the Middle East and north Africa strong economic growth trends are expected to prevail this year.

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