Cargo growth continues to decline

THE International Air Transport Association announced global scheduled international traffic data for March. Compared to the same month in the previous year, passenger demand increased 5.8 per cent with load factors at 77.7 per cent. Freight traffic grew 3.2 per cent.

March passenger growth is positively skewed by the Easter holiday period, which was in April of the previous year. Adjusting for this distortion, real traffic growth in March was four per cent. The slowdown in the demand growth continues the sharp downward trend which began in December 2007 as the impact of the US credit crunch began to be felt in the airline industry.

International freight growth of 3.2 per cent remains sluggish and well below the 4.3 per cent growth recorded in 2007.

“Traffic only tells a part of the story. Astronomical oil prices are hitting hard. And the buffer of an expanding economy has disappeared. The fortunes of the industry have taken a major turn for the worse,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and chief executive officer.

“In the face of such dramatic shifts in the global economy, consolidation is critical. The proposed consolidation in the US is good news. But it makes no sense that consolidation is limited to domestic partners. This is a global industry that needs to be run like a global business. The US-EU Open Sky Agreement second stage talks that open in May must deliver a modern approach to ownership rules,” said Bisignani.

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