Cargo traffic dips in November

INTERNATIONAL freight traffic rose 5.4 per cent in November 2010 leaving the volume for the November equal to pre-recession levels of early 2008. Freight load factor ended at 55.2 per cent for the month.

This is an apparently rapid slowdown from the 14.5 per cent growth in freight in October. However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says its figures were partially skewed because of the exceptionally rapid rise in traffic volumes recorded during the fourth quarter of 2009. However, when viewed in absolute terms, air travel fell by 0.8 per cent and airfreight fell by 1.1 per cent between October and November last year.

This slower growth does not necessarily signal a negative trend. Even with the decline in November, passenger and freight traffic are still expanding at annualised rates of between five to six per cent, which is in line with the industry’s historical growth trend.

“The industry is shifting gears in the recovery cycle. Growth is slowing towards normal historical levels in the five to six per cent range,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s chief executive officer. “Relative weakness in developed markets is being offset by the momentum of economic expansion in developing markets. We see a strong end to 2010 that boosted the year’s profit forecast to US$15.1 billion. Slowing traffic growth is in line with our projections for a reduced profit of $9.1 billion in 2011. That’s a 1.5 per cent margin. More hard work will be needed in the New Year to achieve sustainable levels of profitability.”

Asia-Pacific carriers showed a 4.1 per cent year-on-year increase, a similar amount to that they did at the pre-recession peak of 2008. Middle Eastern carriers saw 12.4 per cent year-on-year growth for November, 14 per cent more than the pre-recession peak in early 2008, North American carriers showed 1.5 per cent year-on-year growth in November, but overall volumes remain 7 per cent below the pre-recession levels of early 2008. European carriers experienced a similar pattern with 6.6 per cent year-on-year growth in November but overall volumes remaining 12 per cent below pre-recession levels.

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