Airfreight decline gathers pace

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA), announced international air traffic for October showing a second consecutive month of global decline. International airfreight traffic contracted by 7.9 per cent in October for a fifth consecutive month of increasingly severe drops.
“The gloom continues and the situation of the industry remains critical. While the drop in oil prices is welcome relief, recession is now the biggest threat to airline profitability. The slight slowing in the decline of passenger traffic is likely only temporary. The deepening slump in cargo markets is a clear indication that the worst is yet to come,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and chief executive officer.
The 7.9 per cent decline in airfreight during October has dragged year-to-date airfreight volume to 0.8 per cent below the same period in 2007. Forecasted declines in key air cargo sectors such as semi-conductors indicate that weakness is expected to continue.
Asia-Pacific carriers, which account for 44.7 per cent of the international cargo market, saw international freight traffic decline by 11.0 per cent, reflecting the sharp drop in the region’s exports.
North American and European carriers saw less precipitous declines of 7.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively.
In sharp contrast to passenger performance, African carriers saw a 3.0 per cent improvement in cargo during October. This reflects trade growth within Africa.
Latin American carriers saw the largest decline (11.4 per cent).
Middle Eastern carriers were the only others to report growth (1.0 per cent) in October.
“As a global economic downturn re-shapes the world’s financial industry, policy makers must also understand that change is needed in air transport. Unlike the finance industry, airlines are not asking for handouts. Commercial freedom, efficiency and a fair treatment in taxes are needed,” said Bisignani.

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