Cautious hope in ACI figures

FIGURES from the Airports Council International (ACI) show that for the third month in a row freight traffic continued to fall in February, with reduction of around 20 per cent worldwide compared to the same months in 2008.

These figures mirror the record export declines that have occurred across the world. As with passenger traffic, there is a leap year adjustment of up to four per cent to apply.

Domestic freight contraction in Asia Pacific has slowed compared to January 2009, whereas airfreight volumes in the rest of the world have continued the downward slide month-on-month. A positive in the picture is renewed demand that lifted domestic freight in China by almost four per cent.

International freight dropped by a third at important hubs including Narita, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Taipei and at Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Incheon traffic fell by 20 per cent. Europe and North America markets shrank by about 25 per cent and Latin America/Caribbean declined by 34 per cent.

ACI director Andreas Schimm (above right), said: “In light of the leap year adjustment, there is cautious hope that we are currently passing the bottom of the freight downturn. However, the plateau that freight is currently experiencing could well extend a bit longer, and it will be a long and rocky road to reach volumes seen in the first half of 2008.”

While ACI’s figures appear glum the recent IATA results suggest that decline in airfreight demand may have hit rock bottom and is likely to stabilise from on.

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